Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Home » Flash Fiction Challenge » November 12: Flash Fiction Challenge

November 12: Flash Fiction Challenge

Photo bombs crack me up. How can you not giggle at the absurdity of a earnest photograph interrupted by the unexpected? While the term is modern and popularized by everyone having digital cameras these days, photo bombs have been with us as long as there have been cameras.

Just the other day, my sister-in-law posted a cute photo of her one-year-old granddaughter. She was so delighted to finally capture this busy Little Miss long enough to get a crystal-clear shot of her smiling, cute as a kitten. Yet, in the background an innocuous spider-plant spread its long pointy leaves in such a way that Little Miss looked crowned in a bad hair day. Photo bombed by a house plant.

Several years ago, my niece primly posed for a series of graduation photos. Her family had two dogs she wanted to pose with, and the young one kept eye-balling the older one instead of looking at the camera. In one shot the younger dog lunged in front of my niece looking like a wild-eyed hoodlum while the other dog disappeared from the frame. My niece continued to pose prettily and it was my favorite grad picture. Photo bombed by a dog.

When it comes to photo bombs, my middle daughter, the Rock Climber, is the bomb. She can manage to interrupt her own photographs. She blames, or claims, this special talent on one of the cameras she sometimes uses for outdoor photo shoots because it goes off on without her knowing. When she took photos of scientists measuring the melt at Glacier National Park, she photo bombed several. Same with rock climbing. Here’s a few Rock Climber photo bombs:

The Hand of Rock Climber

The Hand of Rock Climber

Rock Climber Climbing

Rock Climber Climbing

Rock Climber Almighty

Rock Climber Almighty

Now that our muses have warmed us up, let’s try to write a photo bomb! The formula is thus: serious scene interrupted by something ridiculous. You are free to creatively interpret one of the photos of Rock Climber or a prized photo bomb from your own collection.

November 12, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a photo bomb (serious scene interrupted by something absurd or unexpected). You may also use a photo bomb (one of the three above or one from your own photos) to tell a ridiculous story. You don’t have to be funny–you can be wildly imaginative. Shake up the writing brain a bit and see what falls onto the page.

Respond by November 18 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. In case this prompt seems daft, I’ve written two examples. Have fun!


Be Nice to Mother Nature by Charli Mills (based on Rock Climber Almighty)

Mother Nature peeked in on Glacier National Park.

“The park’s biggest glacier is retreating,” said a Park Ranger.

Tourists huddled to look. Bessie crunched on Skittles and mouthed, “Boring.”

“One day, Glacier Park will have no more glaciers at all.”

“Big deal,” said Bessie, shrugging. A Park Ranger cleared his throat and asked the tourists to line up for a photograph in front of the melting ice. Bessie rolled her eyes and squeezed in.

No one saw the fingers of Mother Nature flick Bessie into the glacial lake, but everyone laughed at the photograph that caught Bessie’s surprised face.


The New Cameraman by Charli Mills

“Is my collar straight, Bob?” Cynthia of the Morning Show stared coolly at the set manager. Bob grimaced and gave her a thumb’s up.

“Bob, is that light skewed?” Bob climbed the catwalk and gave Cynthia thumbs up.

“Good morning, Cynthia! I love your show. I’m…”

Cynthia cut off gushing with a guillotine stare. Bob looked at the new cameraman and shook his head, no. Cynthia smiled like a coyote with a dead rabbit. “No talking to me on set.”

Cameras rolled and the new man grinned. He could see the spinach in her perfect teeth. But no talking.




  1. Hahaha! Love The New Cameraman! This is going to be a challenge…photobombing my own writing. Fun. 😈

  2. TanGental says:

    I love the cameraman. Bomb the Bitch! Wonderful. Coyote with a dead rabbit. Great line. It has officially been purloined.

  3. Annecdotist says:

    Fabulous prompt, great duff photos and I love the spinach. I have done mine but waiting to see if a blog post grows around it. I’ll be back!

  4. Georgia Bell says:

    Great prompt, Charli. The New Cameraman made me laugh – has a 30 Rock kind of feel. Here’s my attempt.

  5. This is right out there Charli. Stretching us possibly past the realms of possibility. Huge cracks may open as we photobomb our very existence. Should be fun. Poor old Bessie and Cynthia. Both photobombed well and truly.

  6. paulamoyer says:

    Offertory Giggle-Bomb

    By Paula Moyer

    That Sunday morning, Jean was thrilled to meet Sally. Her boyfriend Teddy was excited. His older sister was home for the summer.

    Jean was nervous. She and Teddy sat behind Sally and her friends. Sally was gorgeous, with black, curly hair and doll-like features. And she was a college girl. Jean was barely fourteen.

    Then came the offertory. When the maple offering basket came down their aisle, it was full of the usual coins, bills, and offering envelopes. On top, inexplicably, lay a tortoise-shell barrette.

    Jean saw the barrette and giggled. Thought about it and giggled. She couldn’t stop.

    • Charli Mills says:

      The title alone is great, Paula! I’ve experienced getting giggles at the most inappropriate times and it’s painful when you can’t stop! This is a great flash photo bomb!

  7. I didn’t quite manage it this week. But here’s the attempt:

  8. Annecdotist says:

    In the end, I didn’t manage to blog about photo bombs, but you’ll find one in my flash:

  9. ruchira says:

    This is so so funny!

    I have to participate in this…will be back soon 🙂

  10. Pete says:

    An order of valor to go…

    We’d just come out of the bathroom, ready to hit the road. I had my phone recording because Chris had never been in Virginia when the two girls in pajamas entered. There was some arguing, something about breakfast hours having passed. Then the heavier one tossed the chair and it clanged against the window.

    Grandma didn’t even flinch. She looked the girls over calmly and said, “Someone loves you.” The heavyset one froze mid-heave. Glaring, tears bloomed from her worried eyes. Then she slammed the chair down and ran right out of the store.

    I hoped Grandma was right.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Photo bombed in real life by Grandma. What you capture in this flash is how close rage is to sorrow and Grandma’s words changed it from one to the other. I hope she was right, too!

  11. Sherri says:

    Love it!!!! Especially ‘smiled like a coyote with a dead rabbit’ Just brilliant 😀 Thanks for this challenge Charli, so many possibilities, so much fun… 😮

  12. rllafg says:

    Busted by Larry LaForge

    A local news photographer positioned himself to get a great shot. The legendary groundhog would emerge any second.

    Would actions of the simple groundhog signal more winter weather or the advent of spring?

    The photographer took a picture just as the cage opened and the famous marmot appeared.

    As the crowd cheered, the photographer checked the pic on his camera’s screen. He noticed something strange in the bottom right corner. He zoomed in, squinting his eyes.


    He zoomed in further and was shocked at what he saw hidden in groundhog’s cage:

    Mini weather satellite and meteorological communications receiver.

    The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.

  13. […] last time out we had to find the muse; this time it is on the theme of the photo bomb, or as Charli puts […]

  14. TanGental says:

    I have accidentally photobombed myself and lived a photobombed life mixing in the absurd with the serious so this is a bit of a romp. Hope you enjoy but to cut through the dross go to the end for the flash.

  15. Not Merlin this week, instead here’s a slightly re-worked excerpt involving Vanda, my heroine, and her mentor and old college tutor from Scene Five of Earth Magic. I’m just impressed that I’ve got it all done on time for yet another week. Haven’t done anything else, mind you. Merlin’s still stuck on the Ostian Way awaiting the fullest hour of the moon and trying to take on board some stunning historical stuff that I’m having to research properly before he can get moving.

    Lots of Bright Blessings to all,
    Tally 🙂

  16. […] was Charli Mills of the Carrot Ranch who got me thinking about bombing with her Nov 12: Flash Fiction Challenge to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a photo bomb (serious scene interrupted by something absurd […]

  17. Norah says:

    Hi Charli,
    Sorry I haven’t been around to read much over the past few days. We’ve had no internet service. Fortunately it’s back on at the moment, just in time for me to add to the bombs in this post. I went off at a tangent, as usual, so my attempt may not meet your criteria. I enjoyed the learning process anyway. I hope to catch up on some reading soon. 🙂 I love your rock climber’s photo bombs and the glacier story – serves Bessie right! Not to mention the news anchor – how positively mortifying! Great reads. Here’s my offering. thanks for stimulating some learning.

  18. Sherri says:

    Hi Charli! I’m posting my flash here in your comments today, although I would like to make a post out of it. But today got the better of me, including internet, email and other laptop problems which I’m still trying to resolve. Anyway, just in time as always, here is my entry. With Christmas on the way, this is what came to mind – I’m sure you can guess why! Love the fun theme, thanks again and will try to catch up with you asap 🙂

    Rabbit Ears

    Carrie was losing patience as fast as her head pounded. Grabbing Mikey’s hand while simultaneously jostling his baby sister out of her stroller, she warned him to stay by her side.

    “I’m bored…!” Mikey protested.

    “Stay here!” hissed Carrie, “Look, we’re up next…!”

    “Well, hi there kids! All ready for your photo?” beamed the cameraman.

    An hour later, Carrie sighed as she selected the best of the shoot: the baby smiled as red, sticky juice dribbled off her chin and Mikey grimaced while making rabbit ears behind his sister’s head.

    It would have to do – the perfect Christmas photo.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Rabbit ears! Every sibling’s first intentional photo bomb! The Hub’s mom had a cure for rabbit ears and grimacing faces. She always took two photos–the good manners shot followed by encouraged goofy photo bombing. Your flash sounds like many Christmas photos I’ve seen over the years, including my own children!

      • Sherri says:

        Haha…yes, as I’m sure you can tell Charli, I modeled this on my own experiences 😉 Have a lovely photo of my kids all red cheeked and flustered from having to wait so long, daughter with a shiny, sticky chin while holding the lollypop the photographer gave her to help keep her amused (and she never wanted to smile for strangers). Love your m-i-l’s idea…very canny! Why didn’t I think of that? o_O

      • Charli Mills says:

        I think she practice with 4 kids and lots of grandkids! 🙂

  19. susanzutautas says:

    LOL Spinach ….. Good one Charli!

Comments are closed.

A 5-Star Readers’ Favorite!

Be a Patron of Literary Art

Donate Button with Credit Cards

S.M.A.G. Kindness Among Bloggers

S.M.A.G., Norah Colvin, @NorahClovin

Proud Member

Stories Published Weekly

Congress of the Rough Writers, Carrot Ranch, @Charli_Mills


Follow Blog via Email

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,743 other subscribers