V.V. Ganeshananthan at The Margins on writing outside of what you know and the literary establishment's willingness to suspend disbelief and praise authenticity of narrative. As Gracie Jin put it, "In a society masquerading as post-racial, it is still only the white man who can speak authoritatively for every man."
Ficlets are extremely short stories (a maximum of 1024 characters). Other writers swoop in and write prequels and sequels to your ficlet, making interesting branching narratives a la Create Your Own Adventure.