Carrot Ranch Flash FictionAlready this is our fifth flash fiction challenge! It’s exciting to see both returning writers and new writers weekly. By now, I hope that those of you who have discovered 99-word flash have benefited from practicing this form. Last week’s responses are posted in “Flash Fiction: It’s Just the Wind.”

Flash fiction can open up creativity–in addition to clever, chilling and funny flash, I’ve also read several comments that include word play. Thus a sign that flash creativity is alive and well.

According to Writers Digest (.com), “And no matter what you write, stringent word limits can challenge and sharpen your skills in ways that can improve even your long-form work.” The concision of flash is poetry-like and although I’m not a poet, I have found that practicing short form makes my longer prose tighter and full of imagery.

You can write any genre in flash which can help you explore a new genre or develop a new idea in a genre you already pursue. Some genres even have organizations that encourage flash, such as the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, which accepts submissions of flash fiction in 500 to 1,000 words. Even if science fiction is not your genre, the organization accepts different genres and pays $50 for published flash. Something for you to consider.

Last week we had a poem in 99 words that deftly interpreted the prompt. Feel free to take such poetic license especially in April as America celebrates, Poetry Month. Scholastic offers resources and links for poets of all ages and levels if you are interested in exploring poetry.

One of our regular writers, Paula Moyer, posted an idea for a prompt. That’s the kind of interaction between writers that I’m hoping this weekly challenge will foster. So if you have ideas, too, just let me know! Here is our prompt  for the week.

April 2, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that quotes from a song’s lyrics ( could be a classical aria, a rock & roll song, anything). Respond by noon (PST) Tuesday, April 8 to be included in the compilation. My contribution follows and I hope yours does, too!

Virgil Kane is My Name by Charli Mills

I says to my wife, there goes them no-good McCanlesses. Me, I’m out plowing the field them Yankees trampled after murdering Cap’t Morgan. Stoneman’s cavalry. Bah! Bunch of thieving turncoats, I say. “You leave Tennessee,” I shouts at them. Their wagons creak but they say nothin’ to me. Old man Cobb McCanless slumps in his wagon seat. Hope he feels a fool having to flee Tennessee. He was my school teacher once. Old man Cobb. A poet. Virgil Kane is my name and I rode on the Danville train. Until Cobb’s sons came and tore up them tracks again.

Based on lyrics from “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

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Rules of Play:

  1. New Flash Fiction challenge issued at Carrot Ranch each Wednesday by noon (PST).
  2. Response is to be 99 words. Exactly. No more. No less.
  3. Response is to include the challenge prompt of the week.
  4. Post your response on your blog before the following Tuesday by noon (PST) and share your link in the comments section of the challenge that you are responding to.
  5. If you don’t have a blog or you don’t want to post your flash fiction response on your blog, you may post your response in the comments of the current challenge post.
  6. Keep it is business-rated if you do post it here, meaning don’t post anything directly on my blog that you wouldn’t want your boss to read.
  7. Create community among writers: read and comment as your time permits, keeping it fun-spirited.
  8. Each Tuesday I will post a compilation of the responses for readers.
  9. You can also follow on Carrot Ranch Communications by “liking” the Facebook page.
  10. First-time comments are filtered by Word Press and not posted immediately. I’ll find it (it goes to my email) and make sure it gets posted! After you have commented once, the filter will recognize you for future commenting. Sorry for that inconvenience, but I do get frequent and strange SPAM comments, thus I filter.

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