Undaunted by 131 inches of snow — a light winter — some of the Roberts Street royal family has survived. One towering seven foot stalk of Lemon Queen sunflowers bob their dry crowns in the wind. All winter the nuthatches and chickadees have feed at their multiple heads. Winds and snow drifts snapped all but this remaining royal.
Mause joined me today as we worked on a new command, “Off the garden.” We examined the rise of tulips, hyacinth, iris and glories of the snow. Grit and matted maple leaves cover the ground now that most of the snow has gone. Crocus of purple, yellow, white and lavender began to bloom a week ago. They color a dun landscape. Nothing is yet green
Winter bleached the Lemon Queens the color of pale straw. Yet still they give.
A friendly male chickadee sang what birders call the fee-bee song and I responded, “Here, kitty.” Some say the call sounds like “Hey, sweetie.” I like my version because I find it humorous that a bird would call a cat. Mause stood at attention. After all, she is a bird dog. I was gathering dropped Lemon Queen stalks to check for remaining seed. The chickadee tried to land on my outstretched hand and I felt like a Disney Princess. Mause vibrated in excitement and the bird flew off to Mrs. Hitch’s tree.
What seemed a lovely overcast day on the peninsula was not so on Lake Superior. She fussed enough to froth waves that sent the recently returned lake freighters to seek safe harbor. Cedar Bay, one of my favorite swaths of pebble beach that I can access through friends who own lakefront property, churned sand, and broken ice. Someone filmed the action. You can view a nice spring day on the Keweenaw and imagine the Lemon Queens, chickadees, and a young pup ten miles away.
Further North and across the North Pole from me, my youngest daughter is welcoming spring on Svalbard. March and September are the only two months out of the year that the sun both sets and rises. Otherwise it does one or the other. They are now in the days of sunshine. It’s cold on the island, never rising much above freezing. It doesn’t snow much but the ice and permafrost are thick. Caves of blue ice form tunnels through glaciers. My daughter and a group of friends are snow machining and camping, avoiding avalanches and polar bears. It’s stunning country.
Caves remind me of the hero’s journey. An important stop along the way is the symbolic cave — call it a bad day or the point of no hope. It’s necessary for the hero to fall before the rise with an elixir in hand. As an epic moment, the cave represents a near-death experience. And it is a confrontation of death. Consider the class Star Wars story when Luke Skywalker’s training calls for him to enter the cave and confront the dark side of the force.
He enters the cave and battles his arch enemy, Darth Vader only to discover the his own face within the mask. This scene is not the actual cave moment in the story, though, but a premonition of what will follow. In order to confront his enemy he must confront the darkness within himself. Ultimately, this leads Luke to believe that if there is darkness within him, there must be goodness within Darth Vader. The actual full hero’s journey in the Star Wars sagas belong to Anakin Skywalker. His hero’s wound is that Anakin never had a father. He dies when he turns against the dark side to save Luke — to be the father he never had.
What makes Star Wars so crazy-good to study for the hero’s journey is the fact that as a writer, George Lucas befriended Joseph Campbell who defined the epic structure based on worldwide studies of mythology. Lucas and all the writers and filmmakers he has influenced since the 1970s have followed this pattern. Like the 99-word story format, the hero’s journey is a pattern. At the Star Wars epic level, heroes look like the Skywalker men. At its most simplistic form, the hero’s journey is about transformation and not gender specific.
Many people have dismissed the hero’s journey as a white male construct. While that might be so to a certain point, what excites me about the hero’s journey is how its pattern feels like the struggle to overcome and self-actualize. In fact, people relate to this pattern and flock to stories in the Star Wars universe because it stirs up emotion and inspiration. They want to experience the journey. Many fans have, becoming part of the technology, art, and storytelling of LucasFilms.
The latest is a Disney series called The Mandalorian. Many people involved in the project were kids, just like me, when Star Wars rocked our world in 1977. I was ten and started to write stories. My writer-self has evolved with Star Wars. I still get chills hearing the opening music of what has been renamed A New Hope. Now, I have a new theme that fires my synapses, perfectly pitched between light and darkness with a western influence. The Mandalorian is based on western tropes.
The Hub has watched The Mandalorian with me. It’s hard to find shows that hold his attention. Mostly he watches YouTube interviews of soldiers, which I find interesting to listen to as I write but don’t care to watch for entertainment. He began researching George Lucas and the development of Stars Wars and I followed him down every rabbit hole that had to do with storytelling. To bring it back full circle to my ultimate writing mentor, Wallace Stegner, he said:
“An emotional response in the reader, corresponding to an emotional charge in the writer –some passion or vision of belief–is essential, and it is very difficult to achieve. It is also the thing that, once achieved, unmistakably distinguishes the artist in words from the everyday user of words.”Wallace Stegner. On Teaching and Writing Fiction. Penguin Books. 2002.
That’s why I love the hero’s journey. As a pattern, it provides a foundation to build upon such an achievement in writing.
Yet, many dismiss or dislike the hero’s journey. First, the word “hero” is problematic. Anne Goodwin and I have had numerous debates over the years which has helped evolve my thinking about the hero’s journey. We both decided we like the term protagonist’s journey better. Anne also brought up that not all protagonists complete the journey. I think it’s still a journey, but one that refused to answer the call, and then became an anti-hero’s journey, resisting the cave. Some dark stories enter the cave and never leave it. I see these as variations. You have to know the structure to build it differently.
Today, we have an opportunity to broaden who we define as a hero. Women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and different ages, sizes, neurodiversity and abilities can be the person on the journey. Anyone can be the hero. I believe in the pattern of the transformative journey, not who the face of the hero is. Yes! Magazine published an article that challenges us to reframe who the heroes are: “The Kind of Heroes We Need to Actually Save the Planet.” As writers we are heroes of another sort. Rena Priest, the author of the article, reminds us that:
“The word “author” is from the Latin word auctus, which translates literally to “one who causes to grow.” As storytellers, we plant beliefs that blossom into the structure of the world.”Rena Priest, The Kind of Heroes We Need to Actually Save the Planet. Yes Magazine. 5 November, 2020.
April 8, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that “rethinks the hero.” Define the hero, comparing or contrasting to the classic definition. Break the mold. What happens to the hero in the cave? Is it epic or everyday? Is there resistance or acceptance? Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by April 13, 2021. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. Rules & Guidelines.
Submissions now closed. Find our latest challenge to enter.
A Different Way to Serve by Charli Mills
Her bootlace caught the gunrack no soldier ever used. The force of the blast lifted her body as easily as a child’s balloon rises. Weightlessness defined the pause between rise and fall. When her body crashed, her bootlace held. It ripped every tendon, wringing her ankle. Two years later the VA removed the foot Hunter wanted gone. It flopped and failed, unlike the metal shank they pounded into her bone. Strong. Time to return. She wore no cape, no uniform, but stood to defend an Inuit village. She became the climatologist who sounded the alarm. The ice was melting.
Really enjoyed that… thanks 🙂
Glad you did! Thanks, Michael!
“One who causes to grow,” perhaps that’s why I’m so drawn to write. Growth fascinates me.
Wonderful writing Charli, and a fitting prompt. I’ve been world-building this week and one of my goals was to write a short “day in the life of” piece for my alien culture. This might just be it.
Like you, Rebecca, I’m drawn to the growth aspect of writing so that interpretation of author resonates. Do you have any tools or methods for world-building? Using the 99-word format can be a way to explore or expand a world. I like the idea of a day in the life piece for your alien culture.
My primary tools right now are derived from author Holly Lisle’s cheap mini-clinics on Culture, Language, World, Character and Plot building – they are priceless. The language clinic in particular has taken up most of my time this week. I’ve been establishing more root words from particular sounds and forming nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs from them. It’s fascinating how one can create entirely new and unique concepts from how a word is formed. Being able to see their world through their language provides so much fuel for the imagination.
What an insight into developing characters by developing their language. I hadn’t thought about that aspect of world-building but I use colloquialisms to denote place and groups of people. It’s tricky to include words your readers will be unfamiliar with and provide the understanding through context or subtle explanation. These are often called “specialist” words in novel writing. Dang, Rebecca, you are creating a specialist language! That’s so cool. I’m glad you have such a valuable and yet affordable resource.
Powerful stuff, Charli! I will come back and reread because my life is a bit chaotic right now but thanks for the interesting thoughts. 🙂 🙂 Have a great weekend!
I hope the chaos settles, Jo. Thanks! You have a good weekend, too!
[…] Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction […]
Beautiful, Ritu. I’ve seen many of these heroes.
Thanks, Norah! Me too!
You did a great job of condensing an important part of the hero’s journey down to a powerful paragraph. After the injury, she sounds stronger in mind for her mission.
Thank you, Dave. I love the 99-word constraint for paring down what is vital to a story.
[…] post is in responce to carrot ranch’s flash fiction challenge: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that “rethinks the […]
Thank you for always coming through with such fun prompts! 🙂
Here is my story: https://aworkofartblog.wordpress.com/2021/04/09/heroinadifferentlight/
I’m glad you enjoy writing to the prompts and constraint, Hanna!
Sometimes simply surviving does make us all heroes of our own journey.
True, but sometimes choosing life and surviving through difficulty is pretty heroic if you ask me.
Haha sorry, just noticed I misread your comment 😅 I somehow read “simply surviving doesn’t make us heroes”. But, yes, fully agree with you Norah!
[…] story was written for Charli’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge. This week’s prompt is to write a story that rethinks the hero. Thank You, […]
Beautiful description of spring followed by a powerful story, Charli. Please find below my contribution:
I’ve always said Hey, sweetie to the chickadee but your Here Kitty is amusing. 🙂
Ooh, I like the idea of breaking the mold to rethink the hero’s journey and whether it’s epic or everyday. Everyday heroes intrigue me.
Responding by mid-week next week? The 14th or 15th?
Hee, hee…glad you see the humor in Here Kitty. Go break the mold you literary rebel!
Yes the Star Wars films have influenced most of my life too (in fact I’ve written Star Wars fiction on my blog). It was a good summation of the hero’s journey.
Star Wars is one of the best examples of the hero’s journey on an epic scale, and yet you can find smaller arcs and unlikely hero’s, too. So many writers have gone into the SW universe and penned their own fan fiction there.
Going to the the realistic (if somewhat dark) side this time around.
A ballsy Amazon, with a prodigious cleavage and legs that go all the way up to her backside, storms into a cave and kicks the crap out of The Devil Personified and, supposedly, women everywhere cheer. The fact that her methodology replicates that of her foe is, supposedly, irrelevant to the sweetness of her revenge.
Meanwhile, a woman, with breasts streaked from breastfeeding and whose legs end at her knees, stands in her cavernous kitchen, surrounded by children abandoned by their father, and turns ground beef into gourmet burgers cheaper than McDonalds. She doesn’t have time to imagine heroism.
Dark perhaps, Doug but grounded in reality…
Dark and realistic is gritty, Doug. This is a gritty reframing of what makes the hero and who the world cheers. This is a story that will stick with me, examining its points.
Thanks, Charli. Glad it resonated.
Yeah. Ain’t that the truth!
Yep. That’s it, in a nutshell. Good eye, Doug.
I sit at the bar, sliding my glass over the rings from pitcher’s past. A muted ball game is on TV. Jim reminds me how he was an all-district pitcher back in high school.
High school. A wash of beer slides down my throat. I check the latest string of messages from my son’s mother. Damn.
I forgot about T-ball.
Jim beckons another round. On TV, the pitcher fans another batter. The kid is four, I’ll make it up to him.
A fresh cold pitcher slides onto the bar, leaving new rings for the next hero to find.
Great piece, Pete. Very evocative of many a bar full of regrets.
Doug summed it up, Pete. Very powerful.
A hero stuck in the perpetual cave, Pete. Such a gritty expression of apathy from someone who can’t get past the rings. “The kid is flour…” makes me think he’s just an ingredient, yet, easy for the dad to dismiss without realizing his lack of action and attention are the other ingredients to the child’s life.
Wow, that works too! Thanks Charli
Very sad, Pete. He needs to find the hero inside to be the hero his son needs. Even four year olds need hero. They’ll need them even more as teenagers.
[…] This was written with the prompt of rethinking the hero provided by the Carrot Ranch April 8 Flash Fiction Challenge. […]
Here’s mine: https://jedigirlblog.wordpress.com/2021/04/10/the-chosen-one-flash-fiction/
She’ll be the hero of her own life to get away from that one!
Getting away is the only solution with narcissists.
Here is my interpretation of the prompt.
Clever twist. Well done.
Loved your take on the prompt. Such an unexpected twist to it.
Thank you. I really like surprising people at the end of my stories.
I did not expect that, Heather! Well done.
Definitely a surprise at the end.
Thank you. I have been working on this style for awhile and I quite enjoy it.
Success is sweet.
At That Decisive Moment
It was expected
that in a pinch,
he’d hold the bridge,
not give an inch.
It was ingrained
in His DNA,
to guard his post,
in every way.
His inner voice,
had something to say,
“It’s a losing cause,
time to give way.”
In moments of doubt,
he thought to pray,
T’was not his way.
Still, he wondered
how to allay
this dune of fear
that so held sway.
“I’m no hero,”
he thus proclaimed.
I will care not
If I am blamed.
Life is a gift.
I’ll leave this war,
and make my peace
Yeah, sometimes heroic to back off. Loved this, Bill.
Bill, I’m reminded of the bridge in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Both sides lost so many men holding the bridge and the anti-hero comes along and blows it up. Too bad the politicians and citizens who send soldiers to war don’t get to experience the profound moment when life is seen as a gift.
Very strong, Bill. A time for decision.
[…] April 8, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that “rethinks the hero.” Define the hero, comparing or contrasting to the classic definition. Break the mold. What happens to the hero in the cave? Is it epic or everyday? Is there resistance or acceptance? Go where the prompt leads! […]
Hurrah for your heroic Lemon Queens. And I love the idea of you as a Disney Princess.
Thanks for our hero’s journey conversations and for the namecheck here. I’m much more relaxed about the HJ now, thanks to you, but wondering now if part of my problem was never having seen Star Wars 😉 Or criticising something I didn’t fully understand. So your line
You have to know the structure to build it differently
makes a lot of sense. (Although I’ve just thought of another gripe!)
Loved your FF. Having a cause external to ourselves can help us be heroic. Be back later with mine.
Those Lemon Queens are the heroes of the garden this year, offering up plenty of elixirs.
I’ve enjoyed our conversations and how your gripes challenge me to reframe what I thought I knew. It’s a pattern worth exploring. I still prefer protagonist’s journey as a name.
My FF might be the start of what comes next after I’ve wrapped up my manuscript. I look forward to where you go with the prompt!
Ooh. a new novel incubating. Look forward to that.
It’s liberating to incubate!
Now we need to know that other gripe, Anne.
Actually, it might be an old one. I’ve lost track and can’t seem to make time for a new ff. Let’s see what today brings.
I think it brought a good story. 🙂
[…] I’m trying out the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge, and this week’s prompt […]
[…] next page) Carrot Ranch April 8 April 8, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that “rethinks the hero.” […]
I enjoyed your flash. We are all heroes in our own way. I think though I went off grid (there is an image and info at my post site) here:
Imprisoned by winter
Set free by sun kissed
warmth of seasonal changes
Our heroes attend
and prepare us
Perhaps they take breaks
In their duties to feed
Our honeydew to their own
How we enjoy to mend
The spirits of those
Who remained bound
Could we be heroic
In our small flight
As we cross their paths
On their garden flowers?
One of the earliest
Of our kind to flitter
Into this April
on my walk
I encountered a true hero
of the new season
one lone Spring Azure
as if the a bit of sky fell
Thanks, Jules! Yes, I believe we are all heroes on our journeys. Certainly as writers, and as those who flutter near and far. Lovely 99 words!
…As I thought about it, pollinators are a special kind of hero. As without them we would not have our food. 🦋🦟🐝
Love it, Jules – especially the last line.
In case you didn’t know, I’m rather fond of butterflies. They definitely are heroic pollinators.
Challenging and interesting prompt.
I thought about women who have had an impact on history one way or another — in part because of March — Women’s History Month, and also because of US Vice Pres. Kamala Harris.
Not quite sure how that will turn into a FF.
But I’ll probably end up reading some very interesting bios!
I look forward to reading your response.
I just submitted my FF, went where the prompt took me.
There are two women scientists who came to mind – Rachel Carson and Sally Ride. Both had a profound impact on how I/we view Earth.
There’s a very interesting book by Rachel Swaby “Headstrong – 52 Women who changed Science – And the World.” 2015.
Thanks to Charli for a challenging prompt!
I’ll see if I can find it.
That book of Swaby’s sounds interesting too. I think I’ve seen it somewhere – maybe even given it to my granddaughter at some stage. I must ask.
I love how you have such a rich repertoire of books you’ve read to draw upon influences and ideas. And, of course, with it being Women’s History Month, you have some great women to influence a story. You are reminding me to read some bios this month, too!
Good one, Charli. Someone who stands up for what they know to be right is definitely a hero. I’m not sure that protagonist works in this sense. Your flash portrays that well.
I enjoyed your discussion of the hero’s journey and the figurative cave. That music with the Mandolorian is quite powerful and I enjoyed the Stars Wars cave scene. It’s great that you and Hub can watch those movies together and that he supported your quest for more information about the hero’s journey, even if he was unaware he was doing so. Must a hero always be aware of what they are doing?
Lake Superior and your Pebble Beach looks amazing – those huge chunks of ice. I see, but find it difficult to imagine, never having seen it in ‘real’ life. The colourful flowers pushing through the snow must look like dobs of paint on a white canvas. Please post a photo.
I’ve written a draft of my response and hope to post it in the next couple of days. Sometimes, when I struggle with the serious side, I tend towards flippancy, which I have chosen this time. Quite the opposite of yours. You’ll see. 🙂
I’m back with my story: https://norahcolvin.com/2021/04/13/the-hero-of-your-own-journey/
“Consider this,” said the teacher. “You’re stranded alone in the desert. Your vehicle has broken down about 15 kilometres from your destination. Your visit’s a surprise so you’re not expected. There’s no internet service and your phone is dead. You’ve packed water and a little food in a backpack. What else should you take to be the hero of your own journey?”
The students huddled, discussing options.
“Compass,” suggested one.
“Pocket knife,” said another.
“I’d just add an ‘s’ — change that desert to dessert and she’s sweet.”
“You’re our hero,” the others agreed, laughing.
I love the rich imagination of children and the ease of rewriting a desert drama into a sweet dessert!
If only life were that easy. 🙂
Hey, I know that kid!
Very good point, Norah. I don’t think the hero has to be aware of what they are doing. We could come up with so many sub-titles — the Unaware Hero, the Epic Hero, the Anti-Hero, the She-ro; the Everyday Hero; the Reluctant Hero…and more.
The music to the Mandalorian has so many different sounds and beats. It really is “out of this world” and yet so earthy.
I’ll find a photo to share, although it’s not as pretty as a painting because the dead leaves as so brown and the snow so gritty and gray!
Glad to see you letting your draft settle before revising. Good way to approach your writing! <3
I like the hero sub-titles. I’m not sure which one I’d settle on.
Perhaps if a photo doesn’t do justice to the snow, a painting is in order.
I always let my drafts settle. The cream doesn’t always rise to the top though. 😉
What a great explanation of the hero’s journey! I really enjoyed reading this, Charli. The symbolic cave… it’s like a rebirth. I’m just overwhelmed at the moment and won’t join in this week. But I look forward to reading everyone’s story at the recap. <3
Yes, the symbolic cave is like rebirth, Colleen. Good luck with everything this week!
Thanks, Charli. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. 😍
What’s that saying? Do something every day that scares you. Add it to — follow your bliss. That’s your week!
[…] was written for the Carrot Ranch’s most recent flash fiction challenge, “rethinks the hero.” One of my Sunday school lesson series (back in the before times) was on contemplative life […]
This week, even Logan is a hero…
‘That was intense.’
‘Another course, Morgan?’
‘Yeah. “Live your own hero.”’
‘Me? Not even in my own lunchtime.’
‘Thanks. You ever been a hero, Logan.’
‘Not knowingly. Though there was Mr Patel.’
‘Ran the corner shop. Called me: “my little hero”.’
‘I saved his shop from being robbed.’
‘Not really. This bloke told him to give him the till. I distracted him and Mr Patel hit him with the takings.’
‘How old were you?’
‘What did you do?’
‘That would do it. You found the hero inside yourself…’
The best, most heroic things comes out of small packages!
Oh I wish this was small but I fear a significant rifter might have been involved
Ha! What a little stinker Logan was, but he saved the day!
From bottom to top…
[…] week’s #carrotranch prompt […]
[…] for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here to join […]
[…] by this prompt from the Carrot Ranch Literary Community: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that […]
The Late Knight
Princess Elissa leaned against the wall of the tower, bored and frustrated. When on earth would Sir Garth arrive? She glanced out the window, and spied the red dragon, circling lazily above the tower. There was no sign of the knight in the distance. Surely, he would have gotten her message about the rescue? Hadn’t her servant survived the journey?
It had been too long. She descended the stairs, summoned the rest of her army, and instructed the dragon to lead them in their march to rescue Prince Arnold. She’d backtrack to search for Sir Garth, just in case.
Nicole, I like how the story seems to head toward the direction of the damsel in distress and does a fine turn to reveal that she wields the army and the dragon.
She tucked each and every one of them in, ‘With love’, she’d say. Oh how she chattered away while she patted them, as she fussed and made sure they were snug.
“Good night dears,” she’d tell them. “You’re going into the dark, as you must. Dream deeply now. For you have so much potential!”
Eventually her granddaughter also started talking to the seeds as she planted, and then the older woman smiled her approval.
“You’ve got potential too,” she joked. “You’ll learn how to grow and use these medicinal plants. You’ll be a healer— like me and my grandmother.”
I see gardening is on the mind, D. I will remember this coaxing as I plant my marigolds seeds as soon as the weather lifts out of the fourth realm of winter.
I planted thousands of hemp plants Monday, one seed at a time. (for CBD oil)
Dreams of healing hands.
[…] This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that “rethinks the hero.” Define the hero, compa… […]
[…] Carrot Ranch Prompt (04/08/21): In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that “rethinks the hero.” Define the hero, comparing or contrasting to the classic definition. Break the mold. What happens to the hero in the cave? Is it epic or everyday? Is there resistance or acceptance? Go where the prompt leads! […]
Maybe because we’ve had a week of rain and clouds, and the temps have been chilly and damp. Or maybe my MC needed to go where no one (so far) has gone before with this challenge…
He stuck his head in the refrigerator, resting his arm along the damp, dusty edge of the door. Plucking at the ruffles of insulation, he surveyed the interior. It certainly felt cooler in there than it did in his apartment…
The refrigerator must be cleaned out at some time. Fun!
It’s been dreary weather, Liz! But I find I’m ready for summer food.
[…] April 8: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
Decided to go for silly:
The elixir of pyjamas and citrus juice
Silly is good, Anne!
I must agree, all heroes are not men, but it sure was a difficult task to relate this prompt to my military-based serial. You’ll see who saved the day. Actually, my mind went to Pete Fanning’s book, “Justice in a Bottle” but I have no nine-year-old in my cast of characters.
I enjoyed the videos, especially of Lake Superior. I do plan to meet her one day and get to listen to her voices in person. On to the prompt…
Jester the Hero
Humans! Geesh! Last week that cute baby tried to twist my ear off. It hurt. A quiet growl escaped. The big people went ballistic, and the baby cried. I heard the words: chain, pound, and vet.
This week I growled and barked in that active kid’s face. She screamed and cried in anger. Her grandmother grabbed her and calmed her. Others praised and petted me, called me a hero dog, and even gave me a raw hamburger patty for supper. I guess it had to do with the fact I kept the little one from climbing up the stairs.
Oh, Sue, I can’t wait for the day you hear the Lady Lake’s voices one day! She’s shedding her ice, preparing for days of play.
If you don’t have a nine-year-old character, a dog fits the role. It’s challenging to be a hero when little ones are around but sometimes it comes with the territory.
[…] journey’ in a story or novel could be applied to any work of fiction or non fiction. Her challenge this week was an exercise to write a story in 99 words (no more, no less) that “rethinks the […]