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Rodeo #2: Memoir

By Irene Waters, Rodeo Leader

Memoir is a passion, so I’m thrilled to once again host the memoir section of the Carrot Ranch Rodeo Contest. Hoping you’ll tighten your saddles and put on your spurs and join in. [READ MORE…]

Last year we had Scars – this year?

“She Did It.”

Three little words can hold so much meaning and have so many stories that come to mind. For the memoir prompt “She Did It” write a true story or a BOTS (based on a true story) keeping in mind the tips on writing memoir.


  1. Every entry must be 99 words, no more, no less. You can have a title outside that limit. Check your word count using the net as this will be the one I use to check the entries. Entries that aren’t 99 words will be disqualified.
  2. The genre is memoir although BOTS (based on a true story) will be accepted.
  3. English grammar and spelling (American, English or Australian) are expected, but as long as the judges can understand the language, it is the story that matters most.
  4. And it must be a story — that is it must be complete by itself not a part of a larger narrative. Give it a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  5. The prompt is a prompt, and the three words don’t have to be used in your 99 words unless you want to.
  6. You must enter your name and email with your entry using the provided form below. If you do not receive an acknowledgment by email, contact us at
  7. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on October 17, 2018. Entries are judged blind, and winners announced November 16, 2018, at Carrot Ranch. Please do not compromise the blind judging by posting your entry before the winners are announced.
  8. You may post a “challenge” if you don’t want to enter the contest, but don’t use the form to enter the contest. Only contest entries will be published.

Above all have fun.

JUDGES (read full bios at SPONSORS)

Irene Waters

Angie Oakley

Helen Stromqvist



  1. She did it – putting my thinking cap on. Nice topic.

  2. Almost

    “Kid, whatcha doin’?”
    “Mind yer- your- dialect. Irene mentioned grammar.”
    “She did? What’s my Gramma got to do with anythin’?”
    “This here’s a rodeo contest… gotta put the polish on fer all the folks. For.”
    “Four what?”
    “Fer gosh sakes, Kid, we ain’t contestin’ an’ I ain’t changin’ no how. I jist come by ta see what you know about you know who.”
    “Who? Yer gramma?”
    “No! D. Avery. Dang she’s ornery. What’d she do that’s got her in sech a mood?”
    “Oh, she’s gone an’ done it, Pal. Put a book out.”
    “She did it!”
    “True story.”

    *Author’s note; these two might be jumping the gun but the print version should be ready to go soon and apparently there is a digital version at the big on line market named for a big South American river.*

  3. Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:
    She did it! Memoirist Irene Waters has posted the second Flash Fiction Rodeo contest event at Carrot Ranch. This one is for those who can handle the truth, or at least a story based in factual events. No entry fees, cash prizes! Try it; all the other kids are doing it.

  4. Annecdotist says:

    I like that prompt, Irene. She might just do it if she can think through anything she’s done!

  5. Liz H says:

    So many possibilities! This calls for an infusion of bacon, eggs over medium, on top of crispy hashbrowns. And coffee…LOTS of coffee! I’m in.

  6. floatinggold says:

    Definitely a challenging prompt. But what was I expecting?

  7. Jules says:

    Do not adjust your set… this is an ad – it is a challenge piece.
    Title is the link to the post. Yup just for the fun of it:

    All ‘Addressed’ Up Nowhere To Go…

    Wanting a memoir, I hitched up my jodhpurs, put on
    my fringed leather jacket and took a ride… oh no I
    can’t use that I don’t have them fancy pants much
    less a horse of a different color.

    But I gotta write a memoir because that’s what’s up
    at the Carrot Ranch Rodeo this week. Yup, ‘She did
    It’ is the prompt.

    I’m supposed to write a beginning, middle and end.
    I’ll have to think hard on that. And save anything
    resembling that truth for a contest piece. This here
    is just an ad… Irene made me do it!


    Have fun folks ~ Jules

  8. A challenging FF.
    I thought a great deal about what I wanted to write, for someone who gave so much of herself to her children.
    And I wrote it up as a BOTS.

    My entry is in. And no matter how it ends up in terms of the contest, I want to thank you for providing this wonderful space to explore both fiction and real life .


  9. dgkaye says:

    This sounds like fun. The possibilities are endless. May I ask, if we enter our name with our entry in the form, how is it ‘blind’? 🙂

    • Charli Mills says:

      Good question, Debby! The form goes into the leader’s email. The form keeps each section separate so leaders don’t have to look at the name section. The leaders copy from the story section and compile the entries that meet the word count and send those out to the judges who don’t see names. The leaders do their best to not peek because it makes it easier to judge blind.

      • Norah says:

        Thanks for this explanation, Charli. Debby’s is an important question.
        I have a question too. I’m wondering about the word count. I compared the count using both Word and, as you suggested, and got different totals – one word difference. It’s the punctuation that does it. I think I’ll use both counters in my contest to be fair. I wonder what the other leaders will do.

      • dgkaye says:

        Thanks for explaining Charli. I was curious how that worked. 🙂 Good plan! <3

      • TanGental says:

        nor’s point on word count tallies with what I’ve just found using the word number checker and finding a few entries in at 100 or 101. Maybe that is down to a different checker. Back we go….

      • Charli Mills says:

        Good question, Norah. Yes, there are discrepancies between the two word counters and likely punctuation is the culprit. My preference, for editing, is Microsoft Word. But not everyone has access to it. Therefore, I offered a secondary, universally available word counter online. Writers will use one or the other but not both. I sent a clarification to leaders.

      • Hi Charli,
        You’re right about the counting of punctuation.
        I use OpenOffice software and compared the word count to the suggested one — there is a difference; OpenOffice counts ellipses as a word. The suggested word counter does not. Openoffice is a free software — a good alternative to
        MS Word.

        Also — when do we receive the email acknowledgement for our entries?

        Enjoying the Rodeo!

      • Charli Mills says:

        Saifun, I would love to learn more about open source programs, but I’m not keen on learning new software (insert eyeroll for old dogs/new tricks jokes). Microsoft Word is the editor I use, which is why it’s offered as one of the word counters. To be fair to all the other options out there, I found a free universally available word counter ( as a secondary option. Just be sure you are using one of those because that’s what the judges will use. Maybe one of these days I’ll make the open source leap!

        Good question about the confirmation — I’ve checked in with our leader, to make sure she’s getting the entries. I checked the “backdoor” and see your entry and others are coming in.

        I’m so glad you are enjoying the Rodeo!

  10. Irene… Whoa. That is going to turn up a lot of fantastic stories. My mind is spinning. And BOTS is acceptable. I’m in. I have to be. That prompt is way too good.

  11. Challenge

    Always fearful, she must have been more than mad when she called me in from riding my bike through the rising water that coursed down our street. I knew it was fun and that I was capable. Didn’t she?
    She would have felt my father’s absence more than I. Of course he was gone, he had to fix the power lines, it had been storming. I knew he always came back. Didn’t she?
    She knew we had no power ourselves and the river was rising. Somehow, all by herself, she got three kids and a dog to higher ground.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Great representation of “She Did It” D. I like the refrain of “Didn’t she?” to each passage followed by what she did.

      • This ain’t fiction. But thanks for the 99 word restriction.
        That constraint made me be more sympathetic to the hero of this story.
        Maybe Irene or the other memoirists out there can speak to a phenomena of a changing of … attitude or perspective or sympathies as one writes a memoir.
        Yep, Shorty, I used ‘repetition’ because it’s a poet’s trick and if it ain’t fiction it’s creative non-fiction and yeah, you see what I did there.
        This really is a good prompt. If we all weren’t constrained by the BOTS business…
        which story? whose story? why Story?
        WRITE ON

      • Charli Mills says:

        That’s an interesting observation, D. I hadn’t thought that perspectives might shift during the process of writing memoir. Then again, I’m always distracted by what if to stick to it enough to find out! But I do know, that after years of managing communications I know all about taking on the perspective of others. Another reason I prefer to write fiction, lol!

      • I think all I meant was that if I’d not paid attention to boiling this down to a 99 word essence I would have had more room to be more dismissive of my mother and her fears; that’s the way it started. Then I had to pare down the words and I realized in paring the story down that she was as brave as she could be and maybe had more common sense than her seven year old daughter. Either way she got the job done, made a reasonable decision to stay at her sister’s on the hill. I started out judgmental and ended up a bit more sympathetic.

      • Charli Mills says:

        So the paring down allowed you to think through the perspective differently. That’s in line with how I think distillation works, but I hadn’t thought of it specifically with memoir. I’ve seen entrepreneurs have such shifts using TUFF to process their vision. Thanks for clarifying!

  12. Norah says:

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    The first contest is done and dusted and the second is out of the chute. This time Irene Waters is the Rodeo Leader and she has challenged writers with a memoir prompt, “She did it”. (I think she’s done it this time. I don’t think I can do it. :)) Pop on over to the Ranch for all the finer details.

  13. Norah says:

    Great challenge, Irene. I haven’t decided yet how I’ll tackle this one. I have lots of stories in mind, but so far haven’t decided on a ‘real’ event. You’re making me think! 🙂

  14. calmkate says:

    several come to mind immediately so maybe I will have to enter a few 🙂

  15. Jules says:

    Got at least one entry in.
    It’s tough for a fiction writer to get real.
    But when life gives you lemons… write about it.

    Good luck all. ~Jules

  16. TanGental says:

    goodness that is tricky Irene, but opens up a lot of possibilities… hmmmmm

  17. dgkaye says:

    Will we lose brownie points for not adding dialogue? Just wondering. 🙂

  18. floridaborne says:

    This was so hard! It’s easy to write a memoir — not so easy to stuff it into 99 words.

  19. Hi Irene, great to see you back again with your prompt. Look forward to giving this one my best shot…with the best intentions 🙂 Sorry for the late re-blog…’stuff’ pre-empted my attempts to go online with my laptop last week, but hauling myself back into the saddle again now. Thanks for all the great memoir tips, as always 🙂 <3

  20. Reblogged this on A View From My Summerhouse and commented:
    ‘She Did It’. That’s the prompt for Irene Waters’ Rodeo #2 Flash Fiction Memoir Contest. Huge apologies for my late re-blog this week – wifi/update issues, say no more – but there’s still plenty of time to enter by 11:59 EST 17 October. As before, all entries are free with a cash prize for the winner. Irene asks for a 99 word memoir or a BOTS (Based on a true story), all rules below. Winners announced 16 November at Carrot Ranch. Speaking of memoir…time to press on and good luck to all!

  21. Jules says:

    Irene – did you get my entries? I have three emails for you and not sure which one to use. I haven’t gotten any conformation that they were received. As I did with the first rodeo contest.

    If I need to email them to you – please send me an email first so I can just reply with my entries.

    ~Thanks Jules

  22. loristory says:

    Just entered, and the experience was fulfilling!

  23. Ritu says:

    Tried to submit via the form Charli and Irene but it doesn’t seem to be sending, so I have emailed it to you. <3

    • Jules says:

      I’ve got gmail… they did some updates and messed stuff up.
      Like when WP does updates.
      Mine went through but I didn’t get confirmation yet.

      • Ritu says:

        I’m on Gmail too Jules. Nothing happened. But I’ve emailed my entry to Charli anyway 😊

      • Jules says:

        If sent queries out to Charli and Irene. If I don’t get a reply soon – I’ll email my entries. Thanks

        The new gmail has the animated envelope… my hubby says he hasn’t noticed a change. I have to log on two or three times. And then there’s some blips. I keep sending gmail feedback. But nothing changes – it is a pain I have no choice but to live with.

      • Ritu says:

        I’ve had that update for a while…
        It hasn’t posed a problem so far.
        I’d email it anyway, then you can be doubly sure xx

      • Jules says:


      • Charli Mills says:

        Jules, yours came through fine.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ritu, yours is the only I didn’t get in the “backdoor” and your feedback helped me troubleshoot. It may a Gmail glitch or a browser issue. I changed the type of field the email was set to and that might adjust. Thanks!

  24. Have emailed you the entry Charli as not sure online form worked.

    • Jules says:


      I sent my entries to Charli’s email. But just to be safe I just sent them through Charli’s ‘contact page’ up on the top of the blog.
      Go to Charli Mills; there is a drop down menu, the last tag is ‘contact’.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Please email me directly as stated above if you have questions or concerns. We are simply delayed in responding. The entries are going through. If you use the contact page, it clutters the feed for when I have to sort for grabbing stories for the collections and it’s just me — there’s no administrative backup. 🙂

      • Jules says:


        Your email isn’t on the left side (bar?) anymore. That’s why I sent stuff to the contact page. But as long as your email is still working – I’ll stay out of the ‘contact’ zone.

        Cheers, Jules

      • Charli Mills says:

        It’s in Rule 6 which is the process to follow. 😉

      • Jules says:

        I did see that after I went looking. I guess I was used to it being on the side. The address is there

        The Rodeo is making us all dizzy 🙂

    • Charli Mills says:

      Got both, Marje! Thanks!

  25. I tried to email using the address provided and my gmail said it wasn’t recognized. ?? Anyway, I entered and didn’t receive a confirmation. 🙁

  26. dgkaye says:

    Hi Charli. I just added my entry. Can you please check you can see it through ‘backdoor’ lol, as I read a few here weren’t sure their entry went through. 🙂 Thanks.

  27. floatinggold says:

    Whew, that was close.

  28. Entered…phew! 🙂 <3

  29. […] for Carrot Ranch Literary Society’s #2 Contest: […]

  30. […] “She did it!” – a prompt for this week’s 99-word-CW piece. [Source: CarrotRanch] […]

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