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Flash Fiction Challenge Begins Today

Carrot Ranch Flash FictionIn northern Idaho, rain is falling on packed snow. It is a good day to hunker over the keyboard with a mug of hot Yuban coffee. But no matter your weather or drinking preference, I hope you have stopped by Carrot Ranch to pick up a prompt.

Today, March 5, 2014 is the debut of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction challenge. Every Wednesday by noon (Pacific Standard Time) a new prompt will be released for the weekly challenge. You have until the next prompt to list your link in the comments with a “howdy-do” to introduce yourself, your blog and what you are writing.  

If you do not have a blog or shared writing platform to post your response, you may post your flash fiction in the comments of this blog post. However, this blog is my business and brand so I will only allow responses in the comments that are business-friendly. If you write on your own blog, your own discretion and brand applies.

The Thursday after the challenge I will list all the links on my blog. You are encouraged to read what other writers wrote. Reflect on the prompt, process or pose a question.  The best way to build a social media platform for any of our writing projects or books is to get social. Be respectful of the diversity of writers joining the challenge.

Yesterday, I learned from The Guardian that authors Ann Rice, Joelle Charbonneau and Charlaine Harris have endured bullying threats, even bodily harm on Amazon. There’s a petition directed at Amazon for them to better buffer authors from cyber-bullies on their review platform. You can sign the petition here. Not that I expect it, but I want to state clearly that bullying is a power-trip that won’t be tolerated in this writing buckaroo’s arena.

The prompt is intended to get your creative mind into problem-solving mode. The 99 words (no more, no less) enhances the problem-solving capacity each of us has that leads to creative solutions. The prompt is also intended to inspire a kernel of an idea unique to your perspective. I’ll include my own response as an example. Let you mind fly wherever the prompt takes you, write and then go back and tighten your story into 99 words. Let’s begin!

March 5, 2014 Prompt: It’s an avalanche! Having grown up in the mountains of the western United States, I’ve witnessed avalanches of snow. I’ve even had survival training. Just last week, across the Idaho border in Montana, a snowboarder triggered an avalanche that obliterated a Missoula home. Three people were buried alive and rescued. Yet, avalanches can be loosened earth, rocks, sand or even flood debris. Outside of nature, avalanches can occur in fantastical stories such as an avalanche of gold treasure that a dragon triggers. Or in a grocery store, a child could grasp an orange and let loose an entire stack of citrus. In 99 words (no more, no less) write the aftermath of an avalanche of any kind from any perspective.

March 5 Response by Charli Mills:

Snow remained hurled like a white wave frozen upon the beach. But this was Missoula at the intersection of Vine and Redmond. The corner rental with shingled roof, white siding and periwinkle trim was gone. Olivia stood without her jacket in unlaced snow boots and yellow penguin pajamas. Where was Jacob? Her friend who kicked with her in karate class walked past her house to this intersection where people crunched across snow, prodding the white swath with poles as if seeking treasure. Then black against white she saw the bag two men carried to the ambulance with muted lights.

Submit your link by noon March 12, 2014 in the comments section! Thanks for taking the challenge and happy trails to you in your writing adventures!


  1. susanzutautas says:

    Hi Charli, Here’s my flash fiction 🙂

  2. Paula Moyer says:

    Jean scrunched her fingers and toes, back and forth. They were all moving, but she was not strong enough to shake off the rubble. There was just too much of it. She was also unable to bat away the sense of shame. It was all her fault. She had known for some time that she needed to clean up her home office – excavate it, to be more precise. But after years of neglect, the once-rectangular stacks had rounded up into piles – and piles. Yet today, right on time with spring, she sneezed while reaching for a pen. Buried herself.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Paula, that is priceless! I started to read and grew concerned–an earthquake victim? An apocalyptic survivor? No, just the perils of a home office! Brilliant twist and great efficiency of words. Thanks for joining the challenge!

    • Ha! Just read yours Paula, I love it. I think we were maybe on the same page when thinking of Avalanches. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • susanzutautas says:

      Paula, This is great and my house is starting to feel the same way. It’s in great need of a Spring cleaning.

  3. […] The following 99 words are for a Flash Fiction challenge from the fine folks at Carrot Ranch. […]

  4. Hi everyone, my name’s Jason, and I love to write in my hometown of Toronto, Canada. Here’s my Flash Fiction for today. Thanks for the opportunity to write something today Ms. Mills.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hi Jason, and welcome! I see you are a fancy buckaroo, wrangling those pedigreed lexicons on WordPress. Lots of Canadian trucks pass the ranch as it’s so close the border, but quite a distance from Toronto. Your flash is well-crafted and I’m glad you showed up to write!

    • susanzutautas says:

      Just left you a comment over on your site Jason. Always nice to meet other Ontarian’s.

  5. ruchira says:

    Hi Charlie, Attached is my flash fiction 🙂

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hi Ruchira! Thanks for meeting the challenge with a response! I enjoyed reading your 99 words as you have such a natural flow to your writing. You captured the emotions, both feared and held back, well.

  6. Norah says:

    Congratulations! I like your blog so much I have nominated it for the Liebster Award. To accept your award visit my blog and follow the instructions.
    Happy blogging! Best wishes. Norah

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you so much, Norah! My goal is to connect with other writers so what a tangible way to see evidence of that! Happy blogging to you, as well and I enjoyed reading your answers on your blog!

      • Norah says:

        Thank you Charli. It is a pleasure. It is, as you say, a great way to connect with other writers, readers, and thinkers. I look forward to reading your responses.

  7. […] In 99 words (no more, no less) write the aftermath of an avalanche of any kind from any perspective. […]

  8. Norah Colvin says:

    […] In 99 words (no more, no less) write the aftermath of an avalanche of any kind from any perspective. […]

  9. Norah says:

    Hi Charli,

    Thanks for this challenge.
    Here is the link to my flash fiction:

  10. […] The following 99 words are for a Flash Fiction challenge from the fine folks at Carrot Ranch. […]

  11. […] certainly what we do here, and flash fiction is common ground. But the original intent of Carrot Ranch as of March 5, 2014 was to create a bully-free zone where writers could learn to access creativity through problem […]

  12. […] Charli on her initiative. In this recent post she restates that “the original intent of Carrot Ranch as of March 5, 2014 was to create a bully-free zone where writers could learn to access creativity through problem […]

  13. […] every week since Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Communications challenged writers with her first flash fiction prompt in 2014, I have written a 99-word story in response. Sometimes an idea forms quickly, like a cup of […]

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