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I had lost all interest, but I'm back anyway
 by bart, 11/01/2013 09:44:24 PM

Okay, so it's been a few years since I let the Pocket Stories domain name registration lapse and decided to give up completely on Pocket Stories. And then - just a few days ago - I thought to myself, "Self, why didn't you ever finish that Pocket Stories thing? It may not have attracted the attention of...well, anyone else, but it was still a pretty cool little thing in the making."

So having berated myself for being such a slacker who never fully finishes anything, I decided to renew the domain registration. And then I started fixing all the broken pages that broke after the domain name lapsed due to a server upgrade.

And that takes us to today. So far, I have fixed the login screen (for the 3 other unfortunate souls who signed up), and a few other navigation issues. I still need to visit the post creation/editing screens and...well, just about everything else. But I'm having fun again so there is some small possibility that it might all happen eventually. Maybe even soon-ish.

I guess we'll see if anyone returns. I'm not holding my breath.

I'm losing interest, but I've not completely given up...
 by bart, 03/29/2010 05:22:28 PM

No, nothing has changed in the past seven months. The unfinished gizmos remain as unfinished as ever. The unfinished stories remain just as unfinished and the silence around here is deafening. Not a single soul has signed up, nor has anyone attempted to contact me to report issues with signing up, so I'm left to assume that there is no interest on anyone's part to come and play here.

All that being said, you'd think that when the domain name was due to expire in February, I would have let it go and been done with this ghost town. But I'm a stubborn lout and I haven't lost all hope for this place; very nearly all hope, but not quite the last little bit. If I use a knife, I can probably get that last little bit out of the jar.

So...well, I'm just talking to myself here. There's really no point in blathering on any further, is there?

All apologies
 by bart, 08/24/2009 08:01:40 AM

I just realized that the contact email address was going nowhere. My bad. I thought I'd tested that.

So...if there have been problems with signing up/creating stories, I wouldn't have been hearing about it. Thus the total lack of activity here could be...well, my fault. Please, if there are issues and you've been unable to reach me, try again. I'm here and happy to help.

Oh, and I haven't finished any of the unfinished aspects of the site because I didn't see any point with the lack of activity. If it turns out the lack of activity is only due to none of you having a way in, I'll mend my ways and get right on those unfinished gizmos.

It's not completely finished, but...
 by bart, 03/04/2009 06:53:26 PM

I've spent a little time finishing things over the past few days and Pocket Stories should now be functional enough to allow new members to sign up and start writing. All the features listed in the last entry are still in a holding pattern, but the basics should all be working. If you experience any problems with the site, please let me know so I can fix them.


It's very nearly finished, but...
 by bart, 01/25/2009 11:08:41 PM

Sadly, the time I had planned to devote to completing the site this weekend and next week have been reallocated to another site, so Pocket Stories remains incomplete. It's very nearly usable, though (once I get the account registration screen finished - it's about 90% now - you'll be able to get in and start writing).

Here are the features that will come later:
1) Show all comments left by the signed-in author (in the "Your profile" menu)
2) Show all comments left for the signed-in author (in the "Your profile" menu)
3) Group stories by series and allow user to expand (or collapse) a series to see all the individual pocket stories within
4) Limit stories shown per page with a "next page" link at bottom to show the rest (initially, all stories will be show in a continuous list).
5) The ability to be notified via email when a sequel/prequel is written to a pocket story you wrote or if a comment is added.
6) A Personal Messaging System to allow authors to send messages to one another withing Pocket Stories
7) Allow members to hide/block images within stories, profile icons, and the site header graphic via settings in their profile screen.

It's possible other features will be defined as time goes on, but that's all I have for now...

Progress is being made...slowly.
 by bart, 01/16/2009 12:30:23 PM

Hello, and welcome to Pocket Stories, a flash fiction writing site.

This site was inspired by AOL's recently deceased Ficlets web site and most likely would have never been built had AOL not announced that they were pulling the plug on Ficlets. Thus ensued the (ulimately failed) mad dash to complete the site before Ficlets went dark on January 15, 2009. Fortunately, AOL either forgot to pull the plug or just decided to let Ficlets live longer than they had announced, because it's now January 16 and is still up and running.

UPDATE: Ficlets is no longer available as of January 17, 2009. The domain now points to a worthless AOL blog.

Pocket Stories was originally going to be called Ficlets 2.0, but I decided it was better to distance myself from Ficlets than to incur the wrath of Time Warner (even though I've been able to find no claims to the name "Ficlets" by AOL). So, why did I call the site "Pocket Stories?" Well, I was trying to find a snappy one-word name like "ficlets" that held some meaning, but everything I came up with sounded nonsensical. So I went with another name for "flash fiction" that I thought had a fun ring: pocket story (the only other online reference to this name I can find is its use by a Serbian blogger, so I'm not very worried about rights to the name).

Pocket Stories has several similarities to Ficlets, as well as a few differences.


The main similarity is the length of a pocket story: 1,024 characters. Kevin Lawver, the guy who came up with the Ficlets concept in the first place and is working to create another Ficlets-spinoff, explained the length as perfect for those brief opportunities when inspiration struck. I thought it was a bizarre and uncomfortably constrictive limitation in the beginning, but it's actually an interesting challenge to write a story or story-module in 1,024 characters and it has grown on me. Just about everything else on the site is similar, too - except for the new features that are different...


I was frustrated by the endless branching some of the stories on took, so I resolved to do away with the non-linear story telling format. As I discussed my intentions to do away with the branching stories, the "challenge" stories were mentioned as a key reason to allow branching stories. So I had to step back and redesign. Stories are now, when the first story in a series is created (a "series" is just that - a group of pocket stories that fit together in a related series), defined as being either "linear" or not.

If a story is defined as linear, it progresses orderly from the initial story in the series to the most current story submission. The author (or other authors who have been given access to contribute to the story) can insert sequel or prequel pocket stories at any point in the series. Any author who is signed in can contribute to a non-linear/branching story.

Stories are no longer just flagged as "mature" if the content is unsuitable for younger readers. The author must select the reason for the story being flagged (language, sex, violence, mature themes) so the reader will have a clear warning before reading.

Another difference is the series-level title. All pocket stories within a series have the same series title and can also have a title for each individual story, though the story-level title is optional. There is also an automatically incremented counter for linear stories (think of it as a "chapter" number). to help readers identify where a story belongs within a series. A series can also be flagged as "Complete" when the series author decides no additional stories should be added to the series.

HTML tags are not allowed in a pocket story, but text may be formatted with these web forum-standard formatting tags: [b]bold[/b], [u]underline[/u], [i]italics[/i], and [s]strikethrough[/s]. Images may be included within a pocket story with the [img]http://imageserver/imagename.jpg[/img] tag (the tags and image URL do not count toward the 1,024 character limitation). Comments allow the use of these same tags (and comments are editable after posting by the comments author).

At some point I suppose I'll have to define rules for what is acceptable/unacceptable behavior and define ownership of everything. But I'm not there yet.

To be honest, so much remains to be finished that I can't honestly say what will and won't be part of the completed site. If I can find the time to work on it, it could conceivable be finished by February 1, but life has a nasty habit of intervening. So we'll see...

If you have questions, concerns, or would like more information about Pocket Stories, send an email to

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