Get Ready to Rodeo!

Written by Charli Mills

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

September 20, 2017

Norah Colvin writes in the upcoming The Congress of Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology, Vol. 1:

“Flash fiction is a form of short writing. In its various forms, it may be known as, for example, micro fiction, sudden fiction, or six-word stories; the length may vary from as few as six to as many as 1,000 words. Brevity is a constraint, and writers attempt to pack as much story as they can into few words. Each word must count. There is no room for ‘darlings’, let alone a need for them to be killed.”

Carrot Ranch is hosting a Flash Fiction Rodeo with eight different contests throughout the month of October. It’s free and includes first place prizes in each category of $25. The best of all eight winning entries will be dubbed the All-Around Best Writer of 2017 Flash Fiction Rodeo and win an extra $50. You can enter one or all contests (it’s free). It’s a contest, so enter your best, polished work. Quality over quantity matters.

If the thought of entering a contest makes your palms sweat, this will be a good one for you to get in the saddle. It’s a contest, sure. It’s bigger than the weekly challenges, you betcha. But this is still Carrot Ranch. We are a welcoming literary community, and no writer has yet broken an arm while penning flash fiction. You’ll recognize many of the contest leaders and their co-judges as from among the Rough Writers & Friends. Some are from the greater blogging community. Some are pals.

Hands down, these are good people who won’t tarnish your writing enthusiasm.

If you ever needed a push to try a contest, start with the Rodeo.  If you need a creative jump-start before NaNoWriMo in November, the Rodeo is it. Thinking you want something different from the weekly challenges? The Rodeo will replace the weekly prompt and compilations for the month of October (regular challenges resume November 2). It’s a great event to build your confidence, challenge your craft skills and push into creativity.

It is with great delight that I introduce you to your leaders for the 2017 Flash Fiction Rodeo:

October 5: Rodeo Event #1 is Norah Colvin’s When I Grow Up Flash Fiction Contest. She will ask you to cast yourself back in time to when you were six. The entry is to be 100 words exactly, not including title. She’ll be joined as judges by two other writers from the community: Robbie Cheadle and Anne Goodwin.

October 10: Rodeo Event #2 is Geoff Le Pard’s The Little and Laugh Flash Contest. He’s pushing you to find the fun in flash. The entry is to be 299 words (with a margin of 9 words under or over) and it is to bring a smile to the judges. Geoff is joined by fellow humor writers, Barb Taub and Lucy Brazier.

October 12: Rodeo Event #3 is JulesPaige’s Septolet in Motion Contest. She’s our resident Rough Writer poet, and introduces contestants to a 14-word, 7-line poem. She’s asking you to get magical and will have a couple of fellow poets to help judge.

October 17: Rodeo Event #4 is Irene Water’s Scars Flash Fiction Contest. As a memoirist, Irene also works in flash fiction and often has a dark twist to her writing. We’ll learn more about her contest and her two fellow judges.

October 19: Rodeo Event #5 is C Jai Ferry’s 9×11 Twitterflash Contest. She will test the wordsmithing skills of writers at both the sentence and story levels. Participants will tweet a 99-word flash fiction stories in 11 sentences of exactly 9 words each. She’ll be joined by two fiction writing judges.

October 24: Rodeo Event #6 is D. Avery’s Dangerous Bull Ride Contest. She’ll first have all writers enter their names just as bull-riders do when drawing a bull to ride. No one knows what dangerous prompt each writer might draw. She’s joined by two local east coast judges to complete the ride.

October 26: Rodeo Event #7 is Sherri Matthew’s Murderous Musings: When Good Folk Turn Bad At The Rodeo Contest. She have contestants write a flash with a criminal theme that explores motives. The fabulous Mike and Hugh join her as partners in crime, judging it, that is.

October 31: Rodeo Event #8 is my own creation I’ve been excited to share with you all. It’s called The Ultimate Flash Fiction (TUFF) and will be the final contest in the Rodeo. It’s also the basis for a workshop I’ve developed. It will push participants to create, cut, cut, cut and revise. It promises to be tough but rewarding!

The Ultimate Flash Fiction imitates the five steps of writing a book. It’s a progressive, five flash writing activity. Your own results will surprise you and improve your approach to book writing. This advanced challenge welcomes all writers, especially those who write books or want to better understand how.

It’s a five step process:

  1. Free write for five minutes;
  2. Write a 99-word flash fiction;
  3. Reduce it to a 59-word flash fiction;
  4. Reduce it to 9-words;
  5. Build it back up to 599 words in three-acts.

What if I told you this is how you write a novel?

  1. Draft an idea (plot, free-write, NaNoWriMo);
  2. Write scenes and structure chapters;
  3. Cut scenes and rearrange chapters;
  4. Reduce entire novel to 9 words;
  5. Build it back up, fill gaps, connect emotional arc to action, and complete three acts.

That’s the Rodeo line up! Watch for promotional details and share as you see postings come up online. Check out some of the revised pages at Carrot Ranch (barn building in progress). There’s new artwork that’s fun and capture’s the spirit of the community. Check out the Home page and the new Flash Fiction page with nicely polished rules (thank you, Norah) and the fancy chart for TUFF. A hearty thanks to D. Avery for lending her wit and yarns to the Ranch, as well.

Even the Contact page has a bit of new art. Use it to tell me what you think of the new pages, TUFF or any questions you have about the Rodeo of Flash Fiction Contests.

Grab your pens, mark the dates and share the promotional icon to encourage others to join the Rodeo! Remember, the party kicks off October 3:

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  1. floridaborne

    Sounds dreadfully frightening. I’d like to participate. OMG! Anxiety attack!

    • Charli Mills

      It’s the Ranch, so you know we’ll be riding along with you! 😀

      • floridaborne

        And as usual, I’ll be on the saddle backwards. 🙂

    • Norah

      And this time, I won’t be dragging behind, I’ll be out in front, offering encouragement all the way! It will be great to see you there. 🙂

  2. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Wow, Charli, you’re doing it! It’s happening!

    • Charli Mills

      It’s happening! Go gather your bulls!

  3. TanGental

    This is going to be fun!! Well done for launching so deftly Charli

    • Charli Mills

      Whew! Glad it looks deft on this side of the fence!

  4. Michael

    How very exciting !

    • Charli Mills

      Thought you’d all like a Rodeo after the writing you’ve been doing!

      • Michael

        Can’t wait. First challenge is brewing nicely in my noggin…

  5. Chris Mills

    Sounds fun, challenging, and it’s free. How can I resist?

    • Charli Mills

      There’s no resisting it, Chris!

  6. julespaige

    Fun and work? Hmmm….. I guess that’s what happens when the gears of our brains collide with imagination and intuition! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! Yes, that’s what it looks like! 🙂

  7. rijanjks

    What a challenge!!

    • Charli Mills

      Something for everyone, and everything for some up to the full challenge!

  8. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

    Oh. My. Goodness. I am SO excited for this. I’m about to explode here! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Me, too! I’ve been having so much excitement build up to this, I’m wiggling as I write!

  9. A. E. Robson

    This is going to be a blast. What a great idea. Thank you to all who have stepped up to judge and good like to everyone who enters.

    Toes out, deep seat and a short shank! Nod for the gate and get it done!

    • A. E. Robson

      In my excitement, luck turned into like . . . Good luck to everyone who enters.

    • Charli Mills

      Now there’s a seasoned writer! I like the good luck! 😉 We’ll all be circling around, ready to go out the gate.

  10. Colleen Chesebro

    OMG! I’m so excited. Great fun! ??????

    • Charli Mills

      It’s going to be a wild ride all month! I’m so excited, too! <3

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Colleen!

      • Colleen Chesebro

        A great pleasure.

  11. Sarah Brentyn

    Here it is. Fun! Looks snazzy, too, lady. 😉 Wonderful line-up!

    • Charli Mills

      The arena is up, the tickets are out and soon the contests begin! Thanks for noticing the snazzy paint on the boards. 😀

  12. Teagan R. Geneviene

    Wow Charli — you’ve created a category for everybody. You’re pos-i-lutely fabulous! Have a wonderful Wednesday.

    • Charli Mills

      The clever Rodeo Leaders developed a fab line up, that’s for certain! Thanks, Teagan! It’s going to be fun!

  13. barbtaub

    Fame, fortune, prizes, and a little cash. What are you waiting for?

    • Charli Mills

      Lots a laughs headed your way, Barb! Thanks for throwing in your hat to judge!

  14. barbtaub

    Reblogged this on Barb Taub and commented:
    Fame, fortune, prizes, and a little cash. What are you waiting for?

  15. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Looking forward to the rodeo. Missed the start for this one but will be ready way before the night. It is going to be fun.

  16. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    Sounds like a wonderful idea Charli. 🙂

  17. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    Reblogged this on M J Mallon Author and commented:
    Get ready to rodeo at Carrot Ranch. Flash fiction competition… Carrot Ranch is hosting a Flash Fiction Rodeo with eight different contests throughout the month of October. It’s free and includes first place prizes in each category of $25. The best of all eight winning entries will be dubbed the All-Around Best Writer of 2017 Flash Fiction Rodeo and win an extra $50.

  18. Solveig

    This sounds like exactly what I need 🙂

    • Solveig

      I am just a little lost, how do I join, or is that no longer possible?

      • susanzutautas

        You can join when the first challenge goes into effect. Just the same way you do when we have the weekly challenges.

      • Solveig

        thank you 🙂

  19. susanzutautas

    Got my first one written ….. yee haw 🙂

  20. Norah

    This is so exciting, Charli. I feel the buzz and anticipation in the lead up to the rodeo. Writers are sharpening their pens and straightening their paper, ready to get going as soon as the starter’s whistle is blown. I’m very proud, honoured and excited to be a part of this inaugural rodeo. I can’t wait to get started and am thrilled to be leading the show into the ring. Thanks for your kind words. Let’s see if we can kick up a bit of dust!

  21. Norah

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    Come, join in the Flash Fiction writing rodeo. Eight different challenges, eight prizes, tons of fun! Starts next week at the Carrot Ranch.

  22. Sherri Matthews

    Oh how good is it to be back in the saddle, riding like the wind, safe at the Ranch! This is fantastic, I’m truly honoured and thrilled to take part. And I love TUFF…this is groundbreaking stuff Charli! Will do all I can to help get the word out…missed everyone here, been too long…time to kick up some dust and make some noise!!! <3

  23. dgkaye

    This sounds like a haystack of fun! I’ll keep my eye out. A crazy week ahead but if I don’t join in, I’ll be watching! 🙂 x


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