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Rodeo #1: Dialog

By Geoff Le Pard, Rodeo Leader

Writers are notorious people watchers. It’s a small miracle we don’t get done for stalking more often. Part of that idea — thieving we do involves listening to what people say — phrases, the modes of speech, dialect, etc. People convey ideas and feelings with words. [READ MORE…]

So, those pesky rules:

  1. Every entry must be 99 words, no more, no less. You can have a title outside that limit.
  2. It’s dialogue only. Everything inside speech marks, please. (American and British styles both accepted.)
  3. Any genre, time, place, just let us know via words. If you can world build a fantasy, hats off! (Oh, by the way, I bloody loathe the overuse of the exclamation mark. Be very sparing or my prejudices may show through.
  4. It’s a conversation so you need two characters at least. But can you have a conversation with yourself? With an inanimate object? Go for it. There’s a prompt at the end for you to use, but use your imagination. It doesn’t have to be anyone in the picture who’s speaking, does it?
  5. I don’t mind what English spelling or slang you use, just make it recognisably English.
  6. I want emotion, but I want fiction. Not memoir, not a personal narrative and no non-fiction, though dialogue non-fiction sounds a challenge in its own right.
  7. You must enter your name and email with your entry using the provided form below. If you do not receive an acknowledgement by email, contact us at
  8. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on October 10, 2018. Entries are judged blind and winners announced November 9, 2018 at Carrot Ranch. Please do not compromise the blind judging by posting your entry before the winners are announced.
  9. Go where the prompt leads, people.
  10. Have fun.

JUDGES (read full bios at SPONSORS)

Geoff Le Pard

Find Geoff’s books at Amazon US or Amazon UK. Follow his blog at TanGental and on Twitter @geofflepard.

Esther Chilton

Whether it’s an edit you’re after, some advice about a market, writing in general – in fact, anything and everything, you can get in touch, and she’ll try and help you. To find out more, visit her blog: Or contact her:

Chelsea Owens

When not cleaning (an infuriatingly large amount of the time), eating, sleeping, parenting, driving, reading her blog feed, budgeting, and cooking; Chelsea breathes in and sometimes out again. She also writes daily on her blog:

In judging we will apply the following criteria:

  1. Word count: 99
  2. Pure dialogue.
  3. Use of the prompt.
  4. Emotion: does the piece convey feeling? Do you generate a reaction in the reader?
  5. Ideally we want a story, something that makes us think. Where’s this going? What’s happened? Engage us in your tale.
  6. We love any clever tricks, to make us go ‘ah ha’. Include something to make us wonder and up the slippery pole you go.
  7. Just remember, in real life, we don’t say everything, we finish each other’s sentences, we talk over each other. Use that. Make it feel real. Make us hear it, and you’ll be a winner.

And the picture prompt?

Oh come on, it’s me. Wadyaexpect? The inside of Starbucks?

Thank you for entering! The contest is now closed. Winners announced November 9, 2018, at Carrot Ranch.


  1. Charli Mills says:

    Ha! Great photo prompt for Dialog, Geoff! Good luck to all entering (and judging). Have a fine ride this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Norah says:

    Hahaha! What a photo prompt, Geoff. I think you’ve set yourself up here for some fun conversations. I wonder which one is the sage and which the student. 🙂 This is a fun contest. I think you’ll have many joining in.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Norah says:

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    And so the rodeo begins. Geoff le Pard has introduced the first contest: Dialog. You won’t believe who are conversing. Will you join in?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. TanGental says:

    Thank you Charli, and Norah for you instant support. One entry already and Dog hasn’t abluted yet. I hope people enjoy this. As for the pic there are so many possibilities here, esp. off camera. I hope my mind is twisted out of shape!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. […] via Rodeo #1: Dialog […]

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lisa L. says:

    What a great photo, Geoff! This should be fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. floatinggold says:

    Not an easy prompt.
    But I gave it a go.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I shall put my thinking cap on.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Jules says:

    Thanks Geoff,

    OK. I’ve got my entry in. Might be back before the deadline with a challenge piece. Unless I like it enough for a second entry.

    Ooooh, off camera… I hadn’t thought of that.

    Good Luck everyone.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Jules says:

    Geoff… I think my first entry has some errors… I sent a second with corrections. Please use that one. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  11. willowdot21 says:

    Love the photos prompt, so many possibilities 💜

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Jules says:

    OK we gotta have a conversation in the comments, don’t we?
    (Use title as it is the link to post.)

    All the Glory and Then Some

    “Al get off my case. How many time do I have to tell you
    that I didn’t fix the race?”

    “My kids don’t believe me when I tell ‘em you got the
    drop on Bugsy.”

    “So bring ‘em into the shop why don’tcha. I got the trophy.”

    “Yeah, I know you display it proudly as the owner of this joint.”

    “So I got a degree in advertising too. You gonna wait until
    closing and offer me some concrete Wellies? Remember I
    also got Glinda watching out for me.”

    “If only you didn’t have the best carrot juice in town…”


    Liked by 9 people

  13. Reblogged this on A View From My Summerhouse and commented:
    And we’re off! Geoff Le Pard is first through the gate at the Rodeo with contest number 1, ‘Dialogue’ All details below. Open to all, free entry, and a cash prize for the winner. Contest closes October 10 at 11:59pm EST. See you back here with next week’s contest, and best of luck to all.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I sent TWO. If the one is too ‘RAW’ (‘Paytreeotic’), enter the other one – “IT’S A SMALL WORLD”). Thanks. ♥♥

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Colleen Chesebro says:

    Oh, this is fabulous! It has Geoff’s brand of humor all over it. LOL! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Ritu says:

    Submitted, EEEK!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  17. calmkate says:

    love the cheeky photo, great prompt and Jules entry is super!

    Liked by 4 people

  18. I think there will be a lot of humorous dialog given that prompt. Nice one!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. dgkaye says:

    Oh this looks like so much fun. If finish my projects by weekend I’ll be hopping on this one. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Keepin’ It Real

    “Pal! The rodeo’s o’fictially begun.”

    “What’s up with the purposeful misspell, Kid? It’ll spook Shorty, git her all worried about errorists.”

    “Don’t mean ta worry Shorty; she’s got enough goin’ on. It’s jist that I ‘m always a might confused about fact an’ fiction. Like this rodeo… is it real? ‘Cause you an’ I ain’t, ya know that, right Pal?”

    “Kid, we’re real- an’ we ain’t… I mean, we’re real characters…”

    “Made up an’ hangin’ out in a made up place…”

    “Kid, folks keep comin’ here ta write an’ read an’ that’s real-ly a big deal. It’s all good.”

    Write Off

    “So, is our writer friend, D. Avery gonna do anything with this prompt?”

    “Her?! This is about dialogue. What’s she got ta say?”

    “Thought you’d be able ta speak ta it Kid. An’ I’m a might worried she might leave it ta you ta do the sayin’. So jist wonderin’ if she’ll be talkn’; jist sayin’.”

    Well I ain’t sayin’ if she’s havin’ me say anythin’ cause the facts (alternative as they might be here in our fictional setting) are that there’s plenty folks around with plenty ta say an’ they will relish the challenges presented each week.”


    Liked by 9 people

  21. Submitted, but are we supposed to put it in the comments, too, as well as our blog? Will wait for an answer before I post here in the comments and on my blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Norah says:

      My thoughts are that we don’t post here or on our blogs if we wish our story to be judged as part of the contest. We would lose anonymity that way. When judging is over, it will be fine to post on our blogs, and Charli will be sharing all the entries here. I’m looking forward to reading all the stories.

      Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      please keep private for now here and on your own platform, until judging complete. It will be done annonymously.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Charli Mills says:

      Glad you entered! The Rodeo is a bit different in that what we enter in the contest we don’t publish until after the judging (November 9 for this one). Some writers do “challenges.” That is, they post responses in the comments that are not entered in the contest. Have fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I was all set for this one, my friend. So excited to attempt a dialogue-only story. And then… Your photo. Oh, dear. It’s fun. Fun? I don’t know how I’ll manage that one. I’ll try but things tend to turn dark when I write so I can’t promise either of you will be alive at the end.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. Annecdotist says:

    Ingenious photo prompt, Geoff. I’ve had a couple of ideas, but they’re more slippery pole than emotion. I assumed entries would be limited to one per person but an official clarification would be appreciated.
    And since I’m now in the habit of writing a blog post tangentially connected to the weekly prompt, I’ve done one about the start of the Rodeo (and not about tortoises) but stemming from my initial reluctance to compete:
    Does your inspiration come mostly from inside or outside? #amwriting

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Darlene says:

    A fun competition. Entered.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Jules says:

    OK – #2 has been Entered.
    Oy the pressure …

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I enjoyed doing this. I forgot to put the title in (sent to Leader Le Pard) . Will share on my blog after the judging is over. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  27. reading journeys says:

    I’m a very green greenhorn, but that terrific picture broke the ice for me!
    That “eye conversation” between the Tortoise and the Guy triggered ideas for my FF. Thank you!
    And my contest entry is in.

    Thanks to you, Charli & all Rodeo leaders & judges, for your hard work, and for your great enthusiasm — it’s very catching.


    Liked by 2 people

  28. robbiecheadle says:

    Mine is entered. I have never written a dialogue only flash fiction before. YeeHaw!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  29. […] Anyway, this is a 99 word (no more, no less) piece of dialogue only, flash fiction for The Carrot Ranch Literary Commu… […]


  30. Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:

    “Check out that old man talking to that tortoise.”

    “What do you think he’s saying?”

    “I almost didn’t recognize you.”

    “Why, I- you – I haven’t seen you since-“

    “- that kiss. When you said…”

    “I could change.”

    “Have you? Are you ready to come out of your shell?”

    “I still think we should take it slow.”

    “Really? Won’t stick your neck out? Take a risk?”

    “Well, uh, I, uh…”

    “Look, I changed. It’s your turn. Shall I kiss you?”

    “That man is still talking to the tortoise. Ugh! Now they’re kissing.”

    “OMG! He turned into a tortoise!”


    Liked by 2 people

  31. Jules says:

    I’ve just been having too much fun thinking of the different conversations that could be created from this prompt so here is a second challenge piece.

    The title is the link to the post:
    Lacking Commitment

    “Look deeply into my eyes… you are getting sleepy, very sleepy”

    “Didja want me to start counting back from ten or one hundred?”

    “Shhh,… just concentrate. Stay focused, please. Did you want to be cured
    of your coffee addiction or not?

    “And you really think trying to hypnotize me inside a coffee shop is the
    right location to do this.”

    “You are talking again. You are supposed to be listening.”

    “But I can smell the coffee and hear the machines brewing.”

    “You aren’t looking into my eyes.”

    “Wise Tortoise, I think I’ve changed my mind. You want some coffee?”


    Liked by 4 people

  32. […] “In exactly 99 words write only dialogue in response to the photo prompt.” – a prompt for this week’s CW piece. [Source: @CarrotRanch] […]

    Liked by 2 people

  33. […] Now, I’m not as good G, but I do enjoy trying sometimes. And now I even took part of Carrot Ranch […]

    Liked by 2 people

  34. […] first weekly contest was themed around dialogue and all the different ways to use it, not only through what people say, […]


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