March 12: Flash Fiction Challenge

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.

March 12, 2014

Carrot Ranch Flash FictionWelcome to Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction! This weekly challenge provides writers a prompt in which the response is to be in 99 words, no more, no less.

Last week was our debut and five writers joined in with responses to an avalanche aftermath. It’s amazing what can bury us. Be wary of words, emotions and paper as much as unstable snow. Reading and writing flash fiction has been linked to elevated levels of creativity. Catch up on some great flash writing from last week:

According to the latest “Writer’s Digest,” short genres offer writers a way to break out in their fiction writing. In fact, there’s a rich environment for publishing shorts. If you want to pursue some upcoming publication contests, review this list at The Writer magazine online.

So let’s get to creating!

March 12, 2014 Prompt. This week’s prompt comes from a comment read in a magazine. A woman relays the story of how she almost sold her “prize possession,” a 1972 Super Bug. It got me thinking about what we deem as prize possessions. Do we hold more than cars dear to us? I suspect so, but I also suspect that we have emotional ties to these material possessions, as well. In 99 words (no more, no less) write about a character from any perspective who has to part with a prize possession.

March 12 Response by Charli Mills:

Middle of a Monday rah-rah meeting before the store opens and my cell phone vibrates in my apron pocket. I’m not supposed to take calls at work, especially not during the weekly sales goal pitch. A manager glares at me as I hastily exit to the backroom among stacks of boxes.   

 “I’m calling about your listing,” says a voice.

 I’m sick to answer these calls. Already 18 people want to buy my sea-kayak, the one I take out on Lake Superior.  But when you have lymphoma, prized possessions pay for treatments.

Submit your link by noon March 19, 2014 in the comments section. If you do not have a blog to link to, submit your response in the comments section (please keep it business friendly on my blog; thank you partner). Thanks for taking the challenge and happy trails to you in your writing adventures!

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31 Comments

  1. Paula Moyer

    Charli, the character is still Jean (my middle name):

    It hadn’t been easy, but Jean had done it. Gone were the diphthongs, the idioms, the quirky Oklahoma expressions. No more “meaner’n a striped snake,” “told him how the cow ate the cabbage.” Those colorful expressions were the easy ones to unload so that she could pass as a Minnesotan. But what to do about “y’all”? That sweet, handy second-person plural. It filled a hole in English that had been missing since the end of the Elizabethan age and the death of “ye”: “Ye are my people.” To fit in, “y’all” had to go. But keeping it exposed her.

  2. Paula Moyer

    Small change at the end: It hadn’t been easy, but Jean had done it. Gone were the diphthongs, the idioms, the quirky Oklahoma expressions. No more “meaner’n a striped snake,” “told him how the cow ate the cabbage.” Those colorful expressions were the easy ones to unload so that she could pass as a Minnesotan. But what to do about “y’all”? That sweet, handy second-person plural. It filled a hole in English that had been missing since the end of the Elizabethan age and the death of “ye”: “Ye are my people.” To fit in, “y’all” had to go. Keeping it exposed her. Sigh.

    • Charli Mills

      This is fantastic, Paula! I never thought about y’all fitting in that hole left by ye, but makes sense. Though I’ve never lived in the south, my cowboy roots feel comfortable with y’all. Stay exposed! Thanks for sharing your talents here!

    • Charli Mills

      What a punch you packed in 99 words! I posted your link on Twitter and FB, too! Thanks for sharing your talents this week!

  3. Jason Kennedy

    Thanks for another opportunity to write Ms. Mills! Here’s my Flash Fiction contribution, called Small Sentiment. http://wp.me/p3UkRK-2L

    • Charli Mills

      That was a deeply felt wound. I’m in the middle of reading “Caged” by Cameron Canaway and it makes me realize that boys are just as vulnerable as girls. 12 was never an easy age for either. Well done!

  4. Charli Mills

    Jason, Paula and Ruchira–you all delight me with your participation! Thank you!

  5. Allison Mills

    The pages felt too real. One, two, three—forty-nine total. Three acts, a dozen scenes. At least eleven separate voices. Heavy pages, weighted with anticipation.

    Jordan walked down the hall, nursing a paper cut. Gray walls, a university is an institution after all. Photographs line the corridor, evenly disrupting the monotony of office doors. Thin, black frames, like reading glasses. Here a distorted spiral of unidentified color. Children on a trampoline. An empty truck. A cowboy dumped in the dirt, looking away from the bull.

    Jordan stopped; the door was closed. She slid her thesis under her adviser’s door.

    • Charli Mills

      The first time you submit a comment, WP requires me to approve it (spam filter). But once you are approved, you can comment away!

    • Jason Kennedy

      This: “The pages felt too real. One, two, three—forty-nine total. Three acts, a dozen scenes. At least eleven separate voices. Heavy pages, weighted with anticipation.” Beautiful. I read it four times over, thanks for submitting Allison. I loved it!

    • ruchira

      Aah! you took me to those days when I was working on my thesis. Those red swollen eyes from editing stuff and re-reading those darn pages just to make sure my advisor approves of it.

      Well written!

  6. Charli Mills

    Here’s an entry posted on the Carrot Ranch FB page by Allison Mills:

    The pages felt too real. One, two, three—forty-nine total. Three acts, a dozen scenes. At least eleven separate voices. Heavy pages, weighted with anticipation.

    Jordan walked down the hall, nursing a paper cut. Gray walls, a university is an institution after all. Photographs line the corridor, evenly disrupting the monotony of office doors. Thin, black frames, like reading glasses. Here a distorted spiral of unidentified color. Children on a trampoline. An empty truck. A cowboy dumped in the dirt, looking away from the bull.

    Jordan stopped; the door was closed. She slid her thesis under her adviser’s door.

    • Charli Mills

      I hope that flash fiction allowed you even the slightest break from the heavy work of your thesis! The description of the university halls is excellent! Thanks for contributing!

  7. Norah

    Hi Charli,
    Thanks for the second challenge. I see many have already responded. I, too, have written my piece, but I’m going to save it until next Wednesday. I am going to save reading others’ submissions until then as well – like keeping the gifts until Christmas Day!
    I enjoyed reading this weeks “Avalanche” submissions. Unfortunately, as I am not yet on Facebook, I wasn’t able to comment on all.

  8. Pete

    Any other day a ride to the dump would have made my week. The mountains of treasures, stacked far and wide over the rolling hills. Sure, the smell could get thick, nearly visible during those muggy days of summer, but today my nose was too stuffy to smell anything. I wiped my face with the back of my hand, still unable to look back at my old friend, sitting on garbage bags in the bed of the truck. Dad put a gentle hand on my shoulder, his eyes soft.

    “Son, I’ll get you another big wheel, this one’s caput.”

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Pete! Thanks for joining us for the Flash Fiction challenge! You crafted a great expression of the prompt through the eyes of a child. Realizing it was a boy giving up his big wheel, made me re-examine the “hills of treasure;” I remember my own fascination with the dump as a child. Your blog looks interesting and I like the title.

      • susanzutautas

        Pete, Loved it!

  9. Norah

    Hi Charli,
    Here’s my contribution to this week’s challenge; a piece I have entitled “Stripped”. http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-dx I will come back to read all others when you have listed them.
    Thanks for the exercise in writing! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Great contribution Norah! You packed in some powerful words in your 99 word response. What a nightmare that would be for a book-lover! For reading, I’ve been contemplating a Tuesday post where I’d post all the flash stories in one post (with a courtesy link to those who have blogs). It would be one place to read all responses for the week. And I’ll continue to link individual responses through FB and Twitter, too.

      • Norah

        Hi Charli,
        Thanks for your comment and kind words.
        I like the sound of a collection of all the flash stories for one week. But why Tuesday? Would it take that long to collate them? I think I’d like to read them before I do my next piece, but I’m sure you have your reasons. I really appreciate the opportunity for creativity that your challenge offers.

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks for your feedback, Norah! I was thinking that writers would still have had 7 days to respond if we made the following Tuesday the deadline, making Tuesday the day to compile all the responses for reading. Then the next day, Wednesday a new prompt will go out. Let me know if that schedule makes sense to you, as I want to make this beneficial for participants and build up readership, too. I’m thrilled that you are finding creativity in the challenge.

      • Norah

        Hi again Charli,
        Just to confirm now, to make sure I understand:
        The prompt will be posted on Wednesday
        Submissions are to be made by the following Tuesday (not Wednesday as in the beginning)
        You will compile and list submissions on Tuesday
        You will post the next prompt on Wednesday . . .
        thanks

      • Charli Mills

        Yes! It will rotate Wed-Tues, giving me a day to post all the stories together.

      • Norah

        Okay. Thanks for the clarification.
        Prompt on Wednesday.
        Post by Tuesday.
        Read on Wednesday!

      • Charli Mills

        Yes! And on and on we’ll go!

    • Charli Mills

      Yes! You made it in time for the March 12 prompt. So glad that you joined us. I’ll post another prompt today!

  10. Norah

    Charli, Thanks for your 99 word contribution. It must indeed be difficult to give away a possession due to a permanent change in circumstances. It would be like giving away part of the self.

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Norah!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Small Sentiment | I Am A Writer, That's What I Am - […] for the Flash Fiction Challenge. In 99 words (no more, no less) write about a character from any perspective…
  2. Flash fiction – Prize possession: Stripped | Norah Colvin - […] The second flash fiction challenge from Carrot Ranch Communications: […]
  3. Flash Fiction: Giving Up a Prized Possesion « Carrot Ranch Communications - […] March 12 Response by Charli Mills: […]
  4. March 18: Flash Fiction Challenge « Carrot Ranch Communications - […] On March 5, 2014 I launched an idea — a weekly flash fiction to practice craft. I wanted to…
  5. Small Sentiment | Jason Kennedy - […] for the Flash Fiction Challenge. In 99 words (no more, no less) write about a character from any perspective…

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