Guess what I found out? Ficlets lives!
Yeah, I was listening to Radio Free Burrito today, and The Wil Wheaton mentioned one of his stories from Ficlets (a story that I wrote an addendum to and he particularly liked, I might add). He then went on to berate AOL for growing and then killing one of it's great ideas (and rightly so), like someone writing at the end of Charlotte's Web "But after the spider died, the messages stopped appearing, so the farmer chopped Wilbur's head off and sold him at $1.99 a pound".
But then he said the developer of Ficlets when onto to make his own independent site - Ficly. It looks like it has the same interface and user experience that Ficlets had, with a few improvements (challenges are now their own "thing"). I'm not that fond of the color scheme - it's a rather sparse red and white, and some of the text is too gray. But otherwise, I'm delighted.
Ficlets (now Ficly, I'll have to get used to that--and is the plural of Ficly Ficlies or Ficlys... or maybe it's a collective. You can have many Ficly, like deer, or geese) was a great sandbox for me as a writer. I wrote some interesting stories, and some crap, but it was a good chance to keep my creative juices flowing. I didn't have to worry about publication or characterization or plot. I could just write 1024 characters, and try to make them as entertaining as I could. So click the link on the right, and look for some oftem mini-fics soon.