Why Flash Fiction?

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

February 5, 2014

Carrot Ranch Flash FictionLet me tell you why I’m excited to share flash fiction with other writers.

Back in “ye olden days” of the initial Gather.com, it was the first social network site that I joined. It was created to give voice to those who typically followed and responded to National Public Radio. The idea was that Gather was a collection of people who were poets, artists, photographers and writers. You could share and read the stories of others who were intelligent, engaging and creative.

While active on Gather, I met many people who are now good friends. I learned how to write tankas, cinquains and other short-forms of poetry because I was inspired to try. What I learned from practicing poetry, is that the creative exercise unlocked my mind. In fact, cinquains became the opening to all my department meetings–I actually required my staff to show up to weekly meetings with project updates and a poem. By that simple act of creation, my team became more open to creativity.

As a storyteller, my favorite short form is “flash fiction.” It is similar to cinquains only in brevity. Beyond that, it is a story. By challenging yourself to craft a story in 99 words, you unlock potential in your brain. When the brain shifts into problem solving, it shifts into creativity. The constraint of 99 words adds to the problem solving activity and you will be amazed at the results.

Not only is flash fiction fun, it can be powerful. The short stories can resonate in unexpected ways with readers. A benefit of regular practice is that you also learn to “write tight.” You will find that after practicing flash fiction, your sentence structures will become more dynamic. You know, the experts always say, if you’re going to write then you need to write regularly. I’d like to tack onto that statement–have fun!

Are you with me? Do you want to infuse your writing with more creativity? Do you want to practice weekly flash fiction with other writers? Then get ready for this coming blog hop. Here are the details:

  1. Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction begins March 5 and continues every Wednesday.
  2. Look for the weekly prompt (such as, “Facts About WWII”) on Wednesday and submit your Flash Fiction link to that blog post by noon (Pacific Time) the following Wednesday to be promoted in the blog hop.
  3. Yes, this is a blog hop. You will write your Flash Fiction on your own blog (any day before the Wednesday deadline) and submit it, using the link-up widget supplied at Carrot Ranch.
  4. Carrot Ranch will promote all the submissions and make comments on each one. You are encouraged to read and comment on the other submissions, too. It’s a great way to get to know other writers and connect with authenticity.
  5. With enough active participation, this blog hop will grow into a contest. Random House is giving away a box of Kind Bars and a Valentine’s Day dinner for a writing contest they are hosting, so I figure, writers must like to eat. I do. And I’m connected when it comes to food. So I’ll be networking for food prizes so that winners can declare, “I’m not a starving artist!”

Questions? Comments? Leave me a note! Share this coming Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction post with other writers and let’s get to know each other, practice our craft and have some fun!

Here’s an example of a flash fiction I wrote on Gather to the prompt, “Facts of WWII.”

“Now what I want is, facts.” My mother’s cousin made this demand with her pencil poised to record the facts of WWII. I glanced to the hospital bed where my once giant grandfather now lay withered and wasted.

“Fact,” he said, wheezing, “I enlisted in 1942…Marines…”


“I earned top rifle scores…one of eight men…selected to guard…Admiral Nimitz.”

“Why were you selected?”

Although weak, I saw him grin slightly, replying “Looks…build…smarts.”

She grilled him for 20 more minutes then left. Once the door shut my Papa’s eyes filled with tears. “Facts are easy to recall…what I faced…I will never tell.”

©Charli Mills 2008

You May Also Like…


  1. Susan Budig (@slb2)

    I don’t have a blog where I could/would write flash fiction. Do I have to have one to participate?

    • Charli Mills

      I was considering that possibility. Because it’s short, the comment box would work and you could offer a link to any social media where you have your poetry or other writing. First, it is to have fun. Second, to meet other writers and actually connect with each other in a real way. Do you think that would work?

  2. Norah

    Hi Charli,
    This sounds like fun! A fun challenge! I haven’t been writing fiction on my blog, but maybe I could have a go joining in this blog hop. I’ll keep an eye out for your Wednesday challenge. Thanks for the invitation.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Nora–would love to have you join in! Benefits–even if you don’t write fiction, practicing short-form can improve creative thinking and even business writing. It’s short, so not a big commitment. We’ll be stating March 5 but I’m posting info every Wednesday up until the start date. Thanks for stopping by the Carrot Ranch!

Discover more from Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading