Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #1

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.

October 5, 2017

When I Grow Up

By Norah Colvin

Do you remember being asked this question as a child? Or contemplating it, even if you weren’t asked? Do you recall your childhood thoughts?

I remember having no aspiration prior to the age of ten when I decided I wanted to be a teacher. Although I loved writing, creating stories, songs, poetry and plays; writing was a part of who I was, an integral part of me, I didn’t consider a writer as something I might be.

It is often mooted that we are educating today’s children for a future of which we have no knowledge, a future we can’t begin to imagine. But hasn’t that always been so? Has any generation known exactly what life will be like for those following? While the rate of change may be increasing, change has always been.

Though it may sometimes appear otherwise, change creates more possibilities than the opportunities it erases. It may require us to let go of prior, and even current, world views in order to adjust and adapt our vision to altering paths.

I am envious of many of the choices available to young people now, and often lament that I was born too soon. But is it less to do with the time of my arrival than with choices I made? I think the answers are intertwined. The choices were influenced by the expectations of the era in which I grew up, choices that seem extremely limited, and limiting, now.

I wonder, if we could travel back in time and whisper in the ear of the child we were, somewhere between the ages of six and ten, what would we tell them to think, and how would we tell them to respond, when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” How would we steer the journey?

Would you rather stay in the era of your childhood; or perhaps in childhood forever, as did the child in A.A. Milne’s poem who decided, “I’ll think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.”

Maybe you’d give instructions on how to be happy, a choice that is often attributed to the five-year-old John Lennon.

While John Lennon was supposedly told that he didn’t understand the assignment, I am giving you greater flexibility in how you respond to this first of the challenges of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo.

CHALLENGE OPTION: This contest has now closed. You may use this as a prompt challenge. Weekly Flash Fiction Challenges resume November 2.

When I grow up. Cast yourself back to six years of age, knowing what you do of life in the present; what would you want to be when you grow up and how would you go about achieving that goal? Tell us in 100 words, no more no less. It can be real or imaginary, serious or light-hearted. Extra points for comparing it to your childhood choice, if you remember it.

Aim for a century – 100 words, not including the title.

Submission information 

THANK YOU FOR ENTERING! CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

Submissions close at Midnight AEST 10 October. Submissions after that date will be disqualified.  

 

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, 7 November. 

 

Judging by Robbie Cheadle, Anne Goodwin, and Norah Colvin, Contest Leader.

Judges will rate the stories according to

  1. Story length.
  2. Relevancy to the prompt.
  3. How well the story captures the voice of a child.
  4. Originality, engagement, and interest.
  5. Story structure.
  6. Consistency with tense and agreement.
  7. Grammar.
  8. Spelling.
  9. Punctuation.

 

About Carrot Ranch 

Carrot Ranch is a literary community committed to providing all writers access to literary art regardless of backgrounds, genres, goals and locations. Common ground is found through the writing, reading and discussion of flash fiction. The weekly online flash fiction challenges promote community through process, craft and exploration, and regular participants form a literary group called The Congress of Rough Writers. Their first anthology, Vol. 1 publishes in 2017. Carrot Ranch offers an adult-learning program called Wrangling Words, available to all communities where Rough Writers reside.

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219 Comments

  1. Norah

    How exciting to get the contest started! I’m sharing at my place now. 🙂

    • Rebecca Glaessner

      Great challenge, Norah!

      One question. When you say “knowing what you do of life in the present” do you mean the child’s goal/aspiration needs to be centered on our present as their unknown future? Or, do you mean, because we’ve grown and changed our goals, that our 6 year old selves have changed their own goals based on our newly developed dreams?

      I hope my question makes sense!

      Thank you in advance.

      • Charli Mills

        Good question, Rebecca! I’ll let Norah answer.

      • Norah

        Hi Rebecca, I was thinking that, if you as a child, knew what options would be available to you today, how would that knowledge influence your choices through life. Oh dear. I hope that makes more sense. In reality, I’m fairly flexible for you to interpret it as you wish. Maybe this: what do you wish you had known or done to give you more opportunities now. Good luck! It’s yours to interpret. 🙂

      • Rebecca Glaessner

        Yes! Makes perfect sense. Thank you for taking the time out to answer my question and clarify. I’m super excited to explore the challenge.

      • Norah

        You’re welcome, Rebecca. I don’t want anyone to feel anxious or threatened by the contest. I just want everyone to join in and have fun. That’s what life is all about. Fun and learning. As Charli always says, go where the prompt leads. I’ve always enjoyed inventiveness as opposed to conformity. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      It is so exciting! I was just at your place marveling at the global impact! Thank you for being the first one out in the arena!

      • Norah

        I just hope writers can make sense of the prompt. There’s already been a few queries. But at least there’s also an entry! I do hope there’ll be more.

      • Charli Mills

        Queries are good, Norah! That means we are all actively listening and asking for points of clarifications to our own points of view or interpretation. Thank you for answering! <3

  2. Norah

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    Today I am honoured, and very excited to be leading the very first of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo events. My challenge is the first of eight to be held each Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of October. Each challenge is different, with a different leader and different rules of participation. Participation is free, but the winner of each challenge scores a US$25 prize! I do hope you will join in. Pop over to the Carrot Ranch for full details including how to submit, and information about other contests.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Norah!

  3. robbiesinspiration

    Such a great topic, Norah. I am so exciting to see what people come up with for this.

    • Charli Mills

      It will be a fun contest to judge, Robbie! Thank you!

    • Norah

      Thanks, Robbie. I am too! There are already 29 entries for us to judge. 🙂

  4. Charli Mills

    CHALLENGE (NOT CONTEST)

    When I Grow Up I Just Want to Be Happy by Charli Mills

    I’m six-years-old and have told a lie. “My mother said I was to go home with my cousin.” We leave together with Papa. My cousin is Underdog to my Polly Purebread fears. He’s my hero. My pulse doesn’t flutter like a swallowed bird in my throat when we are together. We pedal bikes through the orchards. We watch cartoons together, roam the barns, climb the haystacks. Our Papa catches me in the lie after my mother panics, not finding me at school. “Always tell the truth,” he chastises us. My cousin does. He becomes a cop. Me; I write fiction.

    (100 words, not including title.)

    • Norah

      Love it, Charli. Thanks so much for writing a response to show it can be done. You’re going to be a hard act to follow. I hope you don’t scare everybody off. 🙂
      Interesting thoughts about different ways to not tell “lies”. Isn’t it the truths hidden in fiction that make them so believable?

      • Charli Mills

        I think there are many ways to interpret your prompt, Norah, and best I can encourage other writers is to “go where it leads.”

        Writers, trust your gut even if you think it’s a foolish or small idea. Push into it because it’s your truth, and that’s what is at the heart of the adage “write what you know.”

        Yes! I think what makes fiction good is when we can own our truths on the page, both as writers and readers.

      • Norah

        Yes, go where the prompt leads and choose the voice. Wise words from our leader! 🙂

      • Sherri Matthews

        Fantastic flash Charli, great advice and thanks so much again Norah for giving us such a great prompt 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks, Lisa!

    • TanGental

      arghhhh too good!!

      • Charli Mills

        More like, too true! 😀 Thanks, Geoff!

  5. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Challenge (not contest)

    Present

    My six year old self didn’t think about what she wanted to be when she grew up. She was busy being. She vaguely knew that she would become bigger, faster, stronger. That one day she would not have to turn the bike around or end a hike; knew the ships that left the harbor could have her on them. She could captain them. She could travel the world, if she wanted. But that is not what she wished for, for her world then was her here and now. Her most powerful asset, her imagination, was taking root for later branching.

    • Norah

      Why not for the contest? A perfect response. It’s funny, when I discuss school with my grandchildren and tell them what I used to do as a teacher, my 6 year-old granddaughter tells me that she is going to do that when she is a teacher too. My son used to want to be a palaeontologist at that age, as did his little sister, and his son, who has changed his mind at seven to be a famous soccer player like his heroes. I love that the little you was growing an imagination. You sure used good fertiliser and watered it well. Now we all get to share the beauty of its harvest.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Don’t feel like competing.
        I will compete no more forever. But, it is a good day to write.

      • Norah

        Any day that’s good for writing, is a good day. Enjoy! 🙂

      • Pete

        Powerful take.

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, yes, write is Sister! That’s a good one. D. And thanks for taking the challenge!

    • Norah

      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      I second, Norah! Thanks!

    • Norah

      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Like Norah, I appreciate the share, Henrietta!

  6. susanzutautas

    Norah, I think the first file is a blank. OOPS! I don’t think I did the first one correctly, so I submitted it again and I think I got it right the second time.

    • Norah

      They are both complete, Susan. Thank you very much for entering. Congratulations on being the first to do so!

    • Charli Mills

      Yay, Susan! I’m so glad you entered!

  7. Deborah Lee

    Question: Should we keep our entries private until after judging, or is it okay to post on our blogs?

    • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

      This is exactly my question – may I run it on my blog anytime, or wait until after judging?

      • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

        I feel like waiting until after judging makes the most sense. But will await your response.

      • Norah

        I would prefer you to wait, if you are all happy to do so. I’d be interested to see what others think. I still require the entries to be uploaded to the Dropbox, though, please. 🙂

    • Norah

      I had planned on judging the contest “blind” to ensure we judges aren’t influenced by our knowledge of the writers. This was before Charli said they don’t need to be judged blind. While not all contests will be blind, it was what I preferred, and is how I’ve been setting it up. This means you would keep your entries private until after judging. What do you contestants think?

      • julespaige

        Yes, I agree. I think if you enter a contest your entry should be at least kept out of the public eye until after the contest has been judged. The material will always be your own. But for the sake of the other contestants entries for any contest should remain under-wraps so-to-speak until the winner is chosen and then perhaps all the posts (without actual point values displayed, perhaps even in random order after the winner of course) could be posted in the Winning Post For the particular contest (or will that be at the end of this post when the judging is complete?)

      • Deborah Lee

        Either way is fine with me. Blind sounds good. I wanted to make sure ahead of time so I didn’t mess anything up. 🙂

      • TanGental

        given the cash prize I think it asks to be kept blind until after it has closed; like you Norah that’s the way I’ll be preceding.

      • Sarah Brentyn

        Judging it blind (since it’s a contest) is the way to go, I think. It seems fair to everyone sending in entries, I think. 🙂

    • Liz H

      Thanks for asking the question, folks!
      Good point about the contest/prize $$ necessitating blind judges (transparency is critical). So I’ll hold off on posting on my blog, and just slide the file into the Dropbox, per the emailed instructions.
      Tally-Ho!

    • Chris Mills

      It seems fine to me to run it on your blog. Just don’t link it to this site until after the judging. That is, of course, unless the judge frequents your blog……:)

      • Charli Mills

        If you enter the contest, hold off on publishing until after winners are announced. However, if you don’t want to enter the contest, feel free to post your challenge entry at anytime, indicating it’s a CHALLENGE (NOT CONTEST). That will help us not get confused on entries because our judges have all made a big effort to be as fair and transparent as possible.

        Thanks!

    • Norah

      We’ll go for the blind judging then. Just hope those judges know what they’re doing if they can’t see. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Ha! Think of it as a hunting blind, something judges are behind, hidden away from public eye.

        Blind often means stripped of names. I think others are also interpreting that as blind to the public until after the judging process.

        However, it’s not in the rules, but perhaps we ca simply update those to include keeping entries private until the judging process is over.

      • Norah

        Good explanation, Charli. I hadn’t thought of hiding behind blinds. Works well. I won’t share the image of us I just had, huddled in a dark corner, reading by torchlight. I think not publishing before the judging is done is a great addition to the rules. (You know, I was just being silly in my comment. I’m frequently silly. I enjoy it!)

    • Charli Mills

      Good question Deborah and Lisa! Because this is a contest, hold off on publicizing it (which is why I’ll make sure any posted without the CHALLENGE are indeed challenges only).

      100% of rights always stay with the authors, however, we just ask that you hold off publishing on your outlets or elsewhere until the contest winner and Best of Show have posted.

      I’ll make that more clear on the next post. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to clarify!

  8. dgkaye

    Fabulous! Love the theme. I’ll try and hop in. Loved your post and Charli’s (non) entry I’m quite happy to have been born in an era without digital disruption, when kids played outside instead of in front of computers. Love the challenge! 🙂 xx

    • Norah

      Thanks, Debby. I look forward to reading your story, if you join in. 🙂

      • dgkaye

        I’m sharing a post on Friday and the contests are in my post. 🙂 I’m joining! Already have my story. <3 I left a question on FB author/blogger for you. I wanted to know what else goes at the bottom of the story? Just website and email address, or do you want any pictures or bios? 🙂

      • Norah

        Hi Debby, I haven’t had a chance to get over to FB today, but just website and email address is fine. Thank you. I can’t wait to receive your story, and thanks, in anticipation, for sharing on Friday.

      • dgkaye

        Great, and thank you Norah. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Thank you for sharing that! For now, website and email address are good. The leaders and I will consider future publication options for the “Best of Show.” Once we have email addresses we can follow up on more.

    • Charli Mills

      Isn’t that true, Debby! Such different times. I still like to play outdoors. Pleased to hear you are considering entering. Thanks!

      • dgkaye

        I’m in! And I’ve added the Rodeo fest in my Friday Blogshare. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Oh, that’s fabulous on both accounts! Thanks, Debby!

  9. Pete

    Customer Service

    Mom about fell over laughing when I told her I wanted to do customer service. She said I couldn’t sit still for five minutes, much less a whole day. She asked where in the world I got such an idea.

    I told her Blake’s Dad worked customer service. And while he wasn’t tall like my dad and never played on a state champion football team like mine, he was always at school, coming into class, his face like a wishing well as Blake told him all the stuff we’d done that day.

    Mom wasn’t laughing after I told her that.

    • TanGental

      rats; too good Pete. I’m off to a dark room to sob…

    • Norah

      Awesome! I’d be as surprised as your mum too! But the explanation . . .

    • Charli Mills

      Wow! Love this concept: “…his face like a wishing well as Blake told him all the stuff we’d done that day.” Beautifully written, Pete. I’m just confirming — Is your story a CHALLENGE (NOT CONTEST)? We wouldn’t want to miss it if it was for entry!

      • Pete

        Thanks Charli. No, not an entry, like D I just wanted to write and this was the first thing that came to mind. I’m so happy for the ranch and all this pub! Can’t wait to see the results!

      • Charli Mills

        I’m excited by all the flurry of writing! It’s a good flash, Pete. And thanks for verifying its status. I often just like to express an idea and put it out there so it exists. Thanks!

  10. julespaige

    Can we enter the contest as well as do a fiction piece here? I’ve been flip flopping – I know one should only enter a contest once, if I chose that route. But I had a fiction piece pop into my brain and I might run with it – even if I don’t post it anywhere since it might fit another prompt another time.

    • TanGental

      I’m certain that will be ok, Jules; the more the merrier.

    • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

      Seems like a good idea, particularly if you have more than one idea. Practice practice practice!

    • Norah

      I think it’s up to you, Jules. It’s meant to be fun!

    • Charli Mills

      Sure, Jules! You can do both. We’re all in consensus! 😀

    • Norah

      Thanks, Reena.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for sharing, Reena!

  11. Sarah Brentyn

    And we’re off… 😉 Kudos on a fabulous prompt, Norah. And also for being the first one to raise your hand in class. That can be tough. Good luck with the contest!

    • Norah

      Thanks, Sarah. I’m excited. There are already 20 entries! 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Whoa! That’s fabulous! And yes, Sarah, I agree, Norah raised her hand and braved going first. Thank you!

  12. Ritu

    Uploaded my effort!

    • Norah

      It’s in!

      • Ritu

        Yay!

    • Charli Mills

      Yay! Thanks for entering, Ritu!

      • Ritu

        You are most welcome Charli! Thanks for creating this!

  13. Etol Bagam

    Done! Have just uploaded my piece. 😉

    • Norah

      It’s in!

    • Charli Mills

      Yay! Thanks, Etol! Good to see you entering!

  14. Judy E Martin

    What a great challenge.I am sure there will be some wonderful entries.. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Norah gave us a good one! Thanks!

    • Norah

      There are 29 entries already! I can’t wait until the contest closes so I can start reading. 🙂 Are you joining in?

      • Judy E Martin

        Well….I have accepted a challenge from Sarah Brentyn , so I will certainly have a go! 🙂

      • Norah

        Awesome! I look forward to receiving it. 🙂

      • Norah

        I’ve received your entry! Thanks. 🙂

      • Judy E Martin

        I am glad you got it ok 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks for joining the Rodeo, Judy!

  15. Sherri Matthews

    Yee ha! And we’re off! Awesome prompt Norah, and you’re very brave going first! This in haste…I’ll be back tomorrow 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      It has that feel, like when the gate opens and the horse charges forward! Thanks, Sherri!

      • Sherri Matthews

        Love that adrenaline rush!!!! <3

      • Charli Mills

        Me, too, Sherri! Not often we pen-pushers get to share an adrenaline rush because it’s usually one we imagine! 😀

    • Norah

      That’s great, Sherri, thanks. I look forward to seeing you when you pop back. Are you writing for this one?

  16. floridaborne

    I uploaded.

    Mine is truth, and I try to be that person as best I can.

    • Norah

      It’s in!

    • Charli Mills

      A writer’s truth can be the most powerful asset in fiction. Glad you entered! Hope your migraine has subsided, too.

      • floridaborne

        I’m at the point in the healing process where I’m looking back at all those wasted moments and asking myself, “What was I thinking?” The answer is simple — I wasn’t.

        We have medications to help us through it now, but there was a time when migraines were as “acceptable” as menstrual cramps.

      • Charli Mills

        Neither is acceptable just because it happens! I think even our ancestors sought remedies for both. Oh, yes, the hindsight question we all ask ourselves…!

  17. julespaige

    Anyone else having trouble with dropbox. I can’t get my Google Doc in/ uploaded. Is there an alternate way to enter?

    Even my Hubby – a tech guy couldn’t figure it out. Do you have to sign in first? Dropbox says you don’t have to sign in. And frankly I’d rather not have to do that.

    • Chris Mills

      Download your Google Doc to your desktop or downloads via File at the top of the document. Then pick it up from the Dropbox provided for us.

      • julespaige

        Thank you. I thought it might be something like that …I’ll relay this info to my Hubby. I don’t speak Computerese. And even though I am sure you thought you were being very specific… I am a dunce at understanding them.

        It’s like when my son was younger and went to a class to follow instructions on how to make a peanut butter sandwich. The children said put the peanut butter on the bread. So the Instructor smashed the unopened jar of peanut butter on the unopened loaf of bread. 🙂

        It still would be nice to have an alternate entry port.

      • Chris Mills

        haha, ok, try this.

        1. Open your story in Google Docs
        2. Click “File” top left of the Doc.
        3. Choose Download on dropdown menu
        4. Pick a file type, e.g. Doc, Docx, RTF, PDF etc.
        5. Your computer will provide you choices for where to download, e.g. desktop, download file.
        6. Go to the dropbox by clicking on the link at the top of this page.
        7. At the dropbox, click on “Choose File.”
        8. You will be provided with a page to choose your file where you stored it on your computer.
        9. Highlight your story file and click on “Open”
        Your file will upload to Dropbox
        You should get an email telling you that it successfully uploaded.

      • julespaige

        umm… I looked at File at the top of the doc. And the only place it will let me put it is in one of my drive files. Not on my desktop. Also looked at how to Download it as; but none of those choices were desktop. Just showed it to hubby and he doesn’t get it either.

        Like I said…I can write up a storm, but I can’t fathom computers.
        Thanks anyway.

      • Norah

        Nice clear explanations there, Chris. Thanks for sharing.

      • Chris Mills

        Jules, Make sure you are clicking “File” on your Google Docs page, not on your browser.

      • Charli Mills

        Oh, so the two programs can speak! Thanks for sharing that, Chris! I didn’t realize the download on Google Docs was an option.

      • julespaige

        Thanks for your help…I discovered just because I don’t have ‘Word’ – I can still use it. And once I downloaded it I had to go to my list (since it didn’t pop up saying “Here I Am” – maybe if I had pressed the see all button on the bottom right…but I didn’t do that. :S

        Anyway …I did it. 🙂

      • Chris Mills

        Yes, it is. That’s how I submitted my story to this challenge. It should be very straightforward, but obviously, it isn’t.

    • Norah

      I’m sorry you’re having so much trouble, Jules. Chris’s explanation is of the process I also follow. I’m not sure why it’s not working for you. I don’t want it to be a hassle for anyone. Email me your story and I’ll add it to the collection. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks for sorting it all out!

    • Liz H

      Just as a few notes on drop-boxing:
      I clicked on the link and it went straight to the Dropbox interface, where I select the file to upload. I chose my file (always place files on my desktop for ease in finding for transfer) and added my first and last name(s), and my email address in the boxes provided.
      When I selected to upload, it added a tag (folder? breadcrumb?) with my name, to my filename.
      Soon after, a follow up email from Dropbox confirmed the file was uploaded, sent to the email address I’d provided at submission.

      My copywrite/name is also at the bottom of the flash–so hope no problems with stripping this for sharing/evaluating with the crew.

      • julespaige

        We do whatever works – In my case dumb luck. I didn’t get a conformation yet. I expect Norah is still sleeping…

        Thanks though – I think I need to take a class or something. But plodding along in semi-darkness has worked so far…
        🙂

      • Liz H

        That’s the secret to mastering tech…that and a lot of random keystrokes… 😀

      • julespaige

        Oh… Dropbox said the entry was taken – right then, anyway.
        But still no email. But then it is 2am now for Norah and I hope she is having sweet dreams 🙂

      • Liz H

        Huh. Did you supply an email address to Dropbox, before you submitted the file? If it said it was taken, tho’, I’ll bet you’re OK…

      • julespaige

        hummm…I didn’t sign in – if that’s what you are asking. So then I guess not. We’ll just have to wait for ‘Sleeping Beauty’ to wake up to see if she got it 😉

        (If not there is a plan ‘B’ …)

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks for the tips, Liz! I like the one about placing transferable files to the desktop for ease of transfer. I do believe Jules got through!

      • Norah

        Nice little conversation between you both here, Jules and Liz. “Sleeping Beauty” is now awake and on deck – must have been awakened by those whisperings through the waves. 🙂 I received both stories and had no issues stripping the names. There are now 29 entries!!
        I agree, Liz. Saving files to the desktop or to a folder in documents works best. That way you know where things are and they are easy to find for any use, including uploading to Dropbox. I’m pleased my requirement of Dropbox has involved learning for some people. It’s always good to learn something new. 🙂
        My process, just so you know: When a document is dropped into the folder, I give it a number (at the beginning of the doc title), then make a copy the doc. I place the original into a folder of “Originals”. I then strip the title from the copy so that only the number remains, open the document and remove the author’s name and information, leaving only the story and title. I avoid reading the name and title so that I have no knowledge of the author when I come back to judging. This allows the stories to be judged blind, but makes matching stories back to authors easy when judging is complete. It takes a little time, but I feel it is worth it to make judging as fair as possible. As I am but one of three judges, any minute amount of knowledge I may have about authors and stories, will have little effect upon the results. Additionally, as a teacher, I am well experienced in objective assessment.
        I hope that answers your questions and allays your concerns, but please continue to ask for clarification if required.

      • Liz H

        Holy moley, Norah, I think my brain imploded! 😮
        Very complex, and airtight procedure–thanks for explaining the process in detail.
        I am gobsmacked!

      • Charli Mills

        Norah set the bar for the rest of us! We are all clarifying criteria for each contest to help judges have objective tools. We want this to be fun, fair and accessible! Great discussion!

      • Norah

        Sorry your brain imploded, Liz. Not a pretty sight, eh? 🙂 I just wanted you to know I’ve got it sorted. Or at least I hope I have. 🙂 Clear as mud, as they say. 🙂

      • Liz H

        Pantsing can look messy until you step back and see the wonderful clarity of what’s been created. Meanwhile, turtle necks and hoodies for me, so the leakage doesn’t spray the walls (Ew.). I expect to be wowed at the Ranch! 😉

  18. Chris Mills

    This one really was a challenge for me. I wanted the voice of a child, but judging will include verb tense and agreement, grammar and spelling. I believe I accomplished this, but it was tough.

    Thanks for your work on this one, Norah. I’m excited to read the other stories after the judging.

    • Norah

      Thanks for your entry, Chris. I look forward to reading it. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Good points about how to break that down. Sometimes the writing can be poised between instinct and technique. Judging is not easy, but I believe all our leaders have developed fair criteria so it’s less objective. I’m so glad you entered!

    • Norah

      Thanks, Irene.

    • Charli Mills

      😀 <3

  19. Norah

    Hi All,
    Thanks so much for all your wonderful (assuming they are, how could they be anything else?) responses. There are now 20 entries! How exciting. I can’t wait to see how many more there’ll be before the cut off.

    This note is for Elizabeth Slaughter if she if reading or if you know her: Elizabeth uploaded her document in pages and, although I downloaded an app that should let me open it, I am unable to do so. Elizabeth, if you are reading this, could you please try a different format. Word works best out of all the formats used so far. PDFs make it difficult (but not impossible) for me to hide your name for blind judging.

    I can’t wait to read your entries after the contest closes. None of the judges including me (I’m copying your document first, then wiping names off the copies and giving them a number for we three judges) will know who you are when we read your story.

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Nora! You have this all well in hand. Your comment reminds me of the occasional announcements at the Rodeo when a cowboy has left behind a hat or spur.

      • Norah

        There’s nothing like sticking to the theme! 🙂

  20. julespaige

    Though Technology and I will never be Best Friends… I managed to submit to the Contest. But…I ran with my other idea, which actually sprang up first:
    So for the Challenge part I present (not posted in my blog either):

    What’s in a Name?
    (100 word fiction)

    Elizabeth too big of a name for a little girl who always was
    in a fog. So they called her Lizzie, but often also Lazy.
    She hadn’t chosen to remain in good health while others
    died. She hadn’t been given a choice in the replacement
    of those who died either. So she didn’t understand why
    both her mother and stepmother had left.

    Bess would become her own woman. The best Domestic
    Engineer she could be. Remembering mostly what not to do
    from her own bad experiences. Being a wife and parent are
    underrated professions. Bess was very successful at both.

    JulesPaige

    • Sherri Matthews

      I would say ‘Bess’ did the most important profession of all. Wonderful flash Jules 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      I love this one, Jules! You remind me that we grow to become our “namesake.” Thank you! And I think we got the tech stuff figured out! 😉

      • julespaige

        Someone will let me know if the Dropbox worked? 🙂

    • Norah

      I love this, Jules. We do learn from our experiences and from the behaviours we see modelled around us. How truly wonderful for someone to break the cycle, knowing there are better ways of doing things. Being a wife and parent may be underrated in the eyes of many, but never in the eyes of the child and the spouse. From difficult beginnings, (how dare she be the child who lives), Bess finds the best way to make the world a better place. Love it!
      Yes, your story is in! Sorry you had to wait so long to find out. I need my beauty sleep. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        It’s amazing to think that an Australian is leading an American contest right now! Understandable that our hours are a bit off with the time difference. Thank you for making it work! We all need our beauty sleep! 😀

      • julespaige

        Courage and perseverance can break bleak cycles. 🙂 While this is fiction I am sure it is very relate-able to both men and women.

        No problem…Dropbox said they got it. Yes to sleep perchance to dream… I am not one of those who needs less of it. 😉

    • Kate

      I loved the use of the metaphor of the name to show how we all change as we grow up. Lovely flash!

  21. Sherri Matthews

    Hi again Norah! It’s been so long since I wrote any flash fiction, so what better time than to get back into the saddle again with your wonderful kick-off Flash Fiction Rodeo post! Mine just for the challenge btw. You make a great point about the opportunities young people have today. I remember when my eldest son was making a movie at school using proper sound equipment and how I envied him and his friends the facilities to do that! I would have loved to have made a film of some sorts! And I love that you mention A A Milne. I still have my collection of his Winnie the Pooh paperbacks with the light blue edging 🙂 Loved those books. I remember being particularly fascinated with ‘Now We Are Six’, no kidding, when I was six! A lot happened in my life at that time I’ve come to realise through memoir. A pivotal time perhaps for a lot of us. One thing’s for sure, today’s six year olds live in a very different world to the one we knew. Great contest Norah, I’m sure you’ll get plenty of entries, can’t wait to read them all and find out the winner!

    No Fear

    A dancer I thought. Daddy taught me the twist, so it had to be. But I read stories about girls who climbed trees and solved mysteries, and my imagination soared. I didn’t want dolls; I wanted a tree house and a bike and a Batman costume. I dreamt I could fly, weightless and free above my house. I searched for the fairy glen deep in the woods beyond the lane, but when I picked poisonous berries and forgot to wash my hands, I thought I would die. Don’t be afraid. Have your adventures, keep dancing, and write about the rest.

    • julespaige

      I dance with my two left feet all the time – when no one is watching!
      I too was a ‘Tom-Boy’. I wouldn’t even wear pink…for the longest time.
      Not until my own sons were teens and could borrow my sweatshirts – then I got a pink one. 😉 Let ’em borrow Dads!

      I’m still not big on Frills. But I can clean up nice 😉

      • Norah

        Tom-boy? Adventurous girl! That’s how we’re meant to be. But we can have both: adventure and frills, we just need to choose the right moment for each – not always together. Getting a pink shirt so your sons would borrow their Dad’s shirts instead was a good idea, but I know lots of boys who wouldn’t mind pink. 🙂

      • julespaige

        I know in the 1960’s my Dad had a pink silk one. Some men look good in pastels too. 😉

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, Fearless Sherri Jane! I love the intertwining interests that defy gender conformity. We can be dancers and Batman, too. How beautifully written, the vivid image of the poisonous berries to interrupt the sweet reverie. Well done. So happy to see you flashing in the saddle! I do believe you returned with new tricks in your saddlebags. 🙂

      • Sherri Matthews

        Wow…what a beautiful ‘critique’, thanks so much Charli! I’m thrilled to flash in the saddle after so long…… ! I was wondering for a while if there was anything left in those saddlebags…although they have felt mighty heavy of late 😉 Fearless Sherri Jane waving hi! <3

      • Charli Mills

        You are upright in the saddle! <3

    • Norah

      Hi Sherri. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about being six and the changes we’ve seen since then. It is a different world. Each day is a new day.
      I love your flash. It has the feel of memoir to it. It could have been the experience of any little girl. I’m so pleased the poisonous berries were not a death sentence, and that their juice, maybe, inked the quill. Keep writing, Sherri. We need to hear your words.

      • Sherri Matthews

        Aww, thanks so much Norah. Your wonderful prompt has inspired many, and rightly so! And you know me too well…mine is indeed a flash BOTS 🙂 And I love this: ‘…and that their juice, maybe, inked the quill…’ How beautifully put. I do mention this incident in my memoir in amongst a time of insecurity; your prompt encouraged me to strip back another layer by thinking about what I would say to my six year old self…just as I wrote in my flash! So a great opportunity for me to write it here, at Carrot Ranch, amongst dear friends 🙂 <3

      • Norah

        It nice to share memories and reawaken thoughts – helps to recall the good times and heal the wounds. The Carrot Ranch is a great place to share, in the safety of friends.

      • Charli Mills

        Beautifully stated, Norah! Yes, we need Sherri’s words.

  22. Sherri Matthews

    Reblogged this on A View From My Summerhouse and commented:
    The Flash Fiction Rodeo at Carrot Ranch is off! Contest #1 Leader, Norah Colvin, kicks off with ‘When I Grow Up’. Next up: The Little and Laugh Flash Contest by Geoff Le Pard on Tuesday, October 10. Enter the contest for judging as instruced in Norah’s post, or you can write a flash in the comments for the challenge. And remember, entry for the contest is free with a cash prize for the winner! All the best to all candidates, the deadline for Norah’s contest is AEST midnight 10 October. Be back soon!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for sharing, Sherri!

  23. Juliet Nubel

    Hi Norah and Charli,
    I have just delivered my contribution into the Dropbox but had to do it via a weird screenshot page of what I had written. I hope that doesn’t cause any problems. There was just no other way that my pet iPad would let me send it. Thanks for organising this. It’s my first try. I found my way here via Sarah’s Lemon Shark Reef. This is a great place for budding writers like myself.
    Have a lovely evening.
    Juliet

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Juliet! Thanks for finding your way to the Ranch from the Reef. This is a wonderful place for all writers in pursuit of literary art. Glad you could join in! Ah, technology is a wonder. It sounds like you found a creative fix and I appreciate your commenting here in case Norah has trouble with the file. We’ll make it work! You have a lovely evening, too!

      • Norah

        Sure did, Charli. Nothing’s too difficult for us here at the Ranch! (I hope! 🙂 )

      • Charli Mills

        We’re a ropin’, riding’, wranglin’ crew!

    • Norah

      Hi Juliet, welcome to the Ranch and the contest. We’re good friends here with those at the Reef. I’m pleased Sarah sent you. 🙂
      I’ve received your story. Thank you. Can’t wait to read it after the contest closes.

  24. Natalie Frank

    Hi Nora. I just wanted to check and make sure I uploaded my entry properly. Thanks. Am loving the challenges posted here.

    • Norah

      Hi Natalie. Yes, you’re in! Thank you. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for joining us, Natalie!

  25. Judy E Martin

    I have entered,I hope it came through ok 🙂

    • Norah

      Sure did, Judy. You’re in! Thank you for entering. 🙂

      • Judy E Martin

        That’s good, and actually I enjoyed it!! 🙂

      • Norah

        That’s great news! I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Yay! And there’s seven more contests to come!

      • Judy E Martin

        Well as I mentioned to Nora, I actually enjoyed it (FF is not something I do much unless I write it in verse), so will definitely be having another go at it 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        It’s a useful and enjoyable literary form. In many ways it is like poetry because it challenges a writer to express in fewer details.

    • Sherri Matthews

      Yay! So glad you entered Judy! I knew you could do it! 🙂 xxx

  26. Judy E Martin

    Reblogged this on Edwina's Episodes and commented:
    I have submitted my entry, why not have a go!

    • Norah

      Thanks for sharing, Judy. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      I agree with Norah — thanks for sharing!

      • Judy E Martin

        You are both welcome. Thanks for organising the whole thing 🙂

  27. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Norah and Charli, don’t wonder for a moment about the following. It is neither challenge nor contest. It is just those characters again that seem to get caught in conversation all over the ranch.

    “Hey Pal. Aussie and Shorty sure are busy, huh?”
    “Yep.”
    “Gittin’ everthin’ figgered out though, that’s good.”
    “Yep.”
    “Pal, did ya ever imagine when you were six that you were gonna be a ranch hand?”
    “Kid, I ain’t so sure I ever was six.”
    “That’s a shame. Six is when ya think about bein’ an becomin’. Practicin’ an tryin’ things out, growin’ yer own future self, like.”
    “Maybe I am six, and have been forever. I cain’t imagine imaginin’ anything better than me here.”
    “Does it feel right?”
    “I imagine it does.”
    “Well then, you’re right where you are.”

    • julespaige

      Yep, I like that. I like imagining I’m right were I am supposed to be –
      And earned every minute of now and the future.

      Nice addition.

    • Norah

      Nice! This says me: “Maybe I am six, and have been forever.”
      Love these Ranch stories. It’s great to be here to hear them told around the camp fire. Thanks for joining in with the gang. (Am I allowed to say, “gang”?)

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Oh, Norah, you’re six. You don’t imagine that a well intentioned person has to worry about a word’s negative connotations. There’s nothing friendlier than a gang of buckaroos sharing stories and firelight. We’re not a mob, though mobs of kangaroos can bring joey.

    • Charli Mills

      Hope those characters got their reflections knit into the Yarns! It made its way to the CR FB page! I’m thinking this is a right fine way to think!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I’m thinkin’ Norah did a right fine job getting’ them thinkin’ this way. It really is an intriguing prompt. There’s gonna be some rich reading around here when we get to see the entries. Yeehaw!

      • Charli Mills

        Rich reading, indeed! Laughs are coming up next!

    • Kate

      “I can’t imagine imaginin’ anything better than me here.” I suspect that somehow we manage to travel a path that is right for us. Both your takes on the prompt are wonderful.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Why thank you. I left a comment for you at your site.
        Please remember, now, these here are just fictional characters, so they really have no past. They just showed up one day at Carrot Ranch, already formed. Weird.

  28. Kate

    Kudos to you Norah for being the first one out of the Flash Fiction Rodeo gates. I will look forward to reading the stories submitted for the contest. I’ve elected to be part of the challenge group and write about the day I was a six year old princess. I do explain this choice in my post.

    https://eloquentlykate.com/2017/10/09/the-day-i-was-a-six-year-old-princess/

    “I’ll wear this one!” I exclaimed slipping a shiny pink ballerina gown over my head. I loved how it swished and flowed around me.

    “I like the blue one,” Marilyn said, stepping into another one of her Granny’s old party dresses.

    “I am a countess and I run a horse farm,” she proclaimed.

    “I am a princess!” I said just as Marilyn’s dad entered the room.

    “Is that what you’re going to be when you grow up?” he laughed.

    “Yes,” I squealed and twirled around the room. “I’m gonna be a princess and wear nice clothes. I can be anything!”

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, Kate you captured that joy of dress up! Nice challenge post. Thank you!

    • Norah

      I love this, Kate. It captures so much of what I believe childhood should be: being in the present moment, playing, imagining, creating, knowing you can be whatever you want to be, but being it right now; joyful!.

  29. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Looking Forward

    “Kid, you said a while back you was busy corrallin’ bulls for yer bull ridin’ event. Sure looks to me like yer jest settin’ on the fence.”

    “If ya must know Pal, got the bulls corralled. I’m jest waitin’ on folks to let me know they’s innerested in ridin’ one of ‘em. So if’n you’ll be wantin’ a bull to ride, contact Shorty* by the 21st, then you’ll git yer prompt on the 24th.”

    “Yer wonderin’ somethin’ too, I kin tell.”

    “Yep. Wonderin’ what Geoff Le Pard finds funny.”

    “I’m wonderin’ if Aussie oughtta clear the kids outta here.”

    https://carrotranch.com/charlimills/contact/

    • Charli Mills

      We’re gonna have to get our fences straight! 😀

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Good fences make good neighbors…
        and yet, perhaps you’ve found
        some will always overstep the bounds

      • Charli Mills

        And some struggle to build a proper fence!

    • Norah

      I want a bull to ride, please. Make sure you keep an old slow one for me. No fancy high-kicking longhorns, thanks. I’ll make sure all the children are cleared out before you arrive. In fact, I got most of them out before Geoff showed up. 🙂

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        These dates are incorrect, but you will be able to submit through Charli’s form for a bull and then submit a flash. More on the 24th. And you’ll get what you get and won’t get upset.

      • Norah

        That’s a relief. It gave me a fright. I didn’t want to miss out. Getting what I get and not getting upset sounds like what my mum used to tell me about my sandwiches for school lunch and gifts and Christmas time! Need I say, “I can’t wait”?

  30. denmaniacs4

    Hmmm, I believe I have entered twice…two different tales…apologies…

    • Charli Mills

      No apologies, needed! You can enter two. 🙂

    • Norah

      No worries, mate. They’re both in!

  31. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

    OK, so I think I misunderstood the deadline cutoff… Today is 10/10 and it’s 10PM here. So was the cutoff midnight as in between 10/9 and 10/10? I’m so confused! 😀

    • Charli Mills

      No Lisa, I’m confused! Use the form and send it over. I shut it down early because I don’t understand how midnight and time zones work!

      • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

        Well, it’s pretty far past now… And what form? We are quite a pair! 😀

    • Norah

      Hi Lisa, I apologise. I must take responsibility for causing the confusion. It appears that midnight is not a good choice of time to use for concluding a contest. I consider midnight to conclude a day. Charli considers it to begin a day. I hate to say it but both of us are right and confused each other, as well as you, it seems. A better choice (for me) would have been to say midnight 10/11 October, or 9/10 October for Charli. The best choice would have been 11.59 pm 10 October. Now have I completely confused you? I’m so sorry for the confusion. I hope you get to enter many more contests with many more chances to win.

      • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

        Yeah, I’m in the midnight ends the day camp. Too funny. Yes, I was thoroughly confused and so I sat out this one and the second one, too – but for other reasons. Hope to get back on the horse this week and enter #3. We’ll see….

      • Norah

        I hope you get to join in some of the contests, Lisa. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to win them all anyway, would you? Need to let others have a chance. 🙂

      • Chris Mills

        For four years, twice each year, I’ve been involved in a writing competition that begins and ends at midnight. Actually, they use 11:59 pm as you have mentioned. It can and does work fine. Experience is a great teacher. Next go round will be easy, at least on this point.

      • Norah

        It will. We’ve learned. That’s a good thing about making mistakes. You always learn something new. Thanks for your understanding. 🙂

  32. Charli Mills

    Thanks for sharing, Irene!

  33. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Geoff! You are up next!

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