99 words, no more, no less. It’s a simple constraint, an easy-to-master literary art form, and a powerful writing tool for creatives and entrepreneurs. Writers calibrate the usefulness and beauty of 99-words through weekly flash fiction challenges.
Carrot Ranch is a dynamic online literary community for those practicing craft, reading stories and discussing process. Charli Mills is the lead buckaroo who hosts challenges, guest blogs, and an annual multi-contest called the Flash Fiction Rodeo.
You might think of the Ranch as a writer’s getaway: read, write, repeat. It’s also support for the motivated writer. The community is friendly and engaged. You can use the Rancher Badges as an incentive to set your own writing goals and receive quarterly acknowledgment. And there’s plenty of fresh literary material to read weekly.
The core of this literary community is the Congress of Rough Writers, who challenge themselves to explore creativity, craft, and voice. Equally important are the Friends who read, comment, and offer encouragement.
Flash fiction becomes the common ground for a diverse group of writers who include different genres, background, goals, and countries of origin. Carrot Ranch makes literary art accessible to writers, readers, and even lurkers.
Take a look around. This website is full of resources and inspiration. You can:
- learn about flash fiction and why we embrace the form;
- take the current weekly challenge;
- discover advanced flash fiction challenges;
- see what’s coming up or sponsored by the Ranch;
- find new and exciting books to read;
- support literary art;
- purchase items, services or patronage;
- subscribe to The Roundup, a monthly literary newsletter for readers and writers;
- and learn more about the Rough Writers.
The current schedule includes:
- Mondays: Carrot Ranch follows #MondayBlogs on Twitter
- Tuesdays: writer deadline for the weekly flash fiction challenge
- Wednesdays: Carrot Ranch publishes a collection of challenge stories
- Thursdays: Carrot Ranch issues a new flash fiction challenge
- Fridays: write, write, write
- Oct. 3 (11:59 pm EST): Modern Tall Tales (entries due Oct. 9, 11:59 pm EST)
- Oct. 10 (11:59 pm EST): Pro-Bull Mashup (entries due Oct. 16, 11:59 pm EST)
- Oct. 17 (11:59 pm EST): Three-Act Story (entries due Oct. 23, 11:59 pm EST)
- Oct. 24 (11:59 pm EST): TUFF Beans (entries due Oct. 30, 11:59 pm EST)
ENTER USING THE FORM FOUND AT EACH CONTEST POST ON THE BLOG.
***CURRENT PROMPT CHALLENGES ON HOLD DURING CONTEST***
Feel free to join us! Pour a cup of cowboy-coffee and wander about the Ranch.
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LEGEND OF CARROT RANCH
A buckaroo called Charli once decided between saddle and pen. She chased an ink trail across the Rockies to the city-slicker lights of Minneapolis. She signed on to an outfit writing roughshod over marketing communications, wielding their brand.
That’s where she discovered carrots — the food movement that believes in accessibility for people. Food for people matters. The kind of horse a buckaroo rides matters. And words matter, too.
“With lots of junk food on the market, people deserve access to fresh carrots and words.” ~just a thought from a buckaroo
One day, the ink trail wandered west, and then north to the UP’s Keweenaw, toward stories and copper sunsets. Charli found a place to settle her pen, and she called it Carrot Ranch. Other word wranglers joined the show. That’s the legend, and Charli is sticking to it. Rumors that Charli Mills is a country-western singer can easily be dispelled — just ask her to sing.
Carrot Ranch provides words for people: stories to read, encouragement to practice craft, and a commitment to creating community through literary art. That’s something we can all raise a carrot to.
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Introducing the Kid, keeper of Ranch Yarns. Author, D. Avery, begins the serial:
The sky, sun-blistered blue, was punctuated by patient buzzards. Heat soaked, every rock and bit of sage shimmered, illusory to their uncertain eyes. So when they spotted it, they stared, blinking and unsteady, wondering if it were real. They stumbled on.
Sounds of laughter and conversation drew them on. Finally, they reeled through the gates. “Please,” they croaked. “We’re parched. Please, give us some words.”
In a flash, the ranch hands refreshed them with words, cool and crisp. They gulped thirstily.
“Whoa, now. There’s plenty. Just take 99 at a time.”
“I’m Shorty. Welcome to Carrot Ranch.”
For more Ranch Yarns visit ShiftnShake.