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November 4: Flash Fiction Challenge

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Hail the size of popcorn kernels announced the second return of a local event — Lady Lake Superior has turned on her snow-making machine. Late as she is, she’s back. Hail softened to flakes big and downy as chicken feathers. A couple of inches covered rooftops. My weather app can’t predict lake-effect snow, but to its credit, technology attempts to keep pace. Officially, we have recorded two inches of snow.

The Big News, however, is that 41 North Film Fest has returned after a pandemic hiatus. I had never been to a film festival before going to the one hosted at Michigan Tech University. Typically, these cinematic events feature independent films from a diversity of filmmakers.

Maybe I can blame our film noir columnist, Bill Engleson. His latest Tales From the Silver Screen is a compelling reason to study story through film. Cinema gives us a dual-lens approach to issues and art through perspective and originality. Take the film, All Light, Everywhere by Theo Anthony. He connects the development of cameras and weapons to policing and justice. Yet, he also set out to create a beautifully artistic look at ugly social issues.

It might not be noir, but a film festival is a comprehensive cinematic statement on the current condition of the world from cats to artificial intelligence. It is art, expression, absurdity, awareness. And with the snow, it is coming to my town.

What does film have to do with NaNoWriMo? Inspiration!

National Novel Writing Month challenges writers to draft daily for thirty days. While many hope to achieve the 50,000-word count by November 30, the real magic happens when writers realize they can cultivate a daily practice of their craft. Even if one doesn’t hit the big goal, the understanding of limits is just as valuable. It’s important to learn if you are a binge writer (hand raised) or a daily sprinter. It’s practical to learn your daily or weekly word count.

It’s vital to learn what fuels your inner writing engine. I’m talking Muses and Inspiration. No writer can spew stories without absorbing life. All artists require a full well.

“In filling the well, think magic. Think delight. Think fun. Do not think duty. Do not do what you should do—spiritual sit-ups like reading a dull but recommended critical text. Do what intrigues you, explore what interests you; think mystery, not mastery.”

~ Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Inspiration is linked to your passion. What excites you? Take your inner writer kayaking, hiking, snowboarding, or wind-surfing. Go watch people. Find solitude in nature. Visit a museum, art gallery, or food market. Watch a performance, listen to live music, or take dance classes. Play in the snow, the sand, the attic. Play.

This week, in ENG I, I created a 41 North Film Fest playlist of shorts, trailers, and interviews to capture a taste of the film festival. While they watched, they had to jot down moments of inspiration — a reaction to what they saw or heard. They then had to write a 99-word story from that spark and will share it in class. Then they will work in small groups to discuss how they can expand their story into 450-900 words. Next week, they will peer critique their longer drafts and have one more opportunity to finalize their short story.

Even if you arent in my class or writing a marathon 50k words this month, pause to reflect upon your own sources of inspiration. You can share them in the comments. For your story, come along to the film festival with me!

November 4, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a film festival. It can be a small-town indie fest or the Festival de Cannes or anything in between. Who is in the story? An audience-goer, filmmaker, actress, or something unexpected? Through in some popcorn for fun. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by November 9, 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.

Film Fest Debut by Charli Mills

Whiskers tickled Barnyard Betsy’s arm. She patted her lead horse, Magic, her hand shaking. Two country souls about to debut at a big city film festival. BB had never attended a “fest,” but this movie was different. An independent documentary. Instead of her horses acting, a filmmaker caught the relationship between movie wrangler and herd. The promoters wanted BB and Magic to meet movie-goers. Terrified she’d have to put on one of those sparkling sausage casings of a dress, she was relieved they liked her idea of looking authentically Nevadan. The crowd roared when Magic pooped on the carpet.

🥕🥕🥕


104 Comments

  1. Charli, I’m already disorientated with the time change here in the UK last Sunday, and then your Thursday post pops into my inbox early Thursday afternoon, when I don’t usually see it until Friday morning. I suppose I’ll cope.

    Love your horse doing what horses do on the red carpet. I hope someone collected the result to fertilise their garden.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. Myrna Migala says:

    I do believe I am in a better place, but it will still take me some time to figure out where I have been. They tell me I was in the hospital with covid 19, which seems to be some sort of surreal place, real but not real at all.
    I want to write about it because I heard things that God wants me to share but I don’t know if it is just my imagination or something important.
    Thanks for reading at least my thoughts for today. Here is a sample of what I am trying to say, these words are words that are trying to escape my mind where I was held captive under the guise of Covid 19.
    Do they make sense to anyone? “Time is a little bit of always”
    Thank you for being a friend to someone who needs to know I have one.

    Liked by 9 people

    • suespitulnik says:

      Myrna, I do hope you are on the mend and will be feeling better each day. I’m sorry you were so sick you aren’t sure where you were. How frightening. I understand “Time is a little bit of always” to mean that each person has their time of living, but it is just a tidbit of always and forever. And who knows what forever is. Take care.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hospitals must seem like a surreal workplace for those who face the pandemic daily, providing care for patients regardless of beliefs. Hope you are on the mend, Myrna.

      Like

  3. […] from the Carrot Ranch. Written for the Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge (99 […]

    Liked by 2 people

  4. True Grit Shift

    “Pal, this fella’s here ta make a film.”
    “Yes, I want to capture the true-grit work of ranching.”
    “Thet so?”
    “Says he wants ta see real cattle. Ya know, fer the moo-vie.”
    “Well, there’s some longhorns from an earlier prompt. An’ unicorns a course. See Mister we don’t zactly wrangle cattle here.”
    “What kind of a ranch is this?”
    “This here’s a virtual ranch. We wrangle words. But if’n ya got a flash cam’ra, mebbe ya kin catch thet on film.”
    “Don’t you have roundups?”
    “Sure. Ever week. Shorty roun’s up ever’one’s stories.”
    “This is unreal!”
    “Thet’s ‘bout right.”

    Liked by 8 people

  5. denmaniacs4 says:

    The Lost Love Film Festival

    Delbert Waverly never recovered from the loss of his first love.
    He was six.
    Lorraine Petski was seven.
    They spent Grade One together…with thirty-two others.
    And Miss Campbell, of course.
    Then the Petski’s moved away.
    Far away.
    Further than a six-year-old could find.
    Eventually, Delbert went to a therapist.
    Out of that came the suggestion to create a Lost Love Film Festival.
    “Delbert,” the therapist noted, you are one of many. Including me. What say we seek out those who have lost loves, ask them to film their heartbreak, and, voilà, have a film festival?”
    “Your nuts,” said Delbert.

    http://www.engleson.ca

    Liked by 4 people

    • denmaniacs4 says:

      Edit alert!

      The Lost Love Film Festival

      Delbert Waverly never recovered from the loss of his first love.
      He was six.
      Lorraine Petski was seven.
      They spent Grade One together…with thirty-two others.
      And Miss Campbell, of course.
      Then the Petski’s moved away.
      Far away.
      Further than a six-year-old could find.
      Eventually, Delbert went to a therapist.
      Out of that came the suggestion to create a Lost Love Film Festival.
      “Delbert,” the therapist noted, you are one of many. Including me. What say we seek out those who have lost loves, ask them to film their heartbreak, and, voilà, have a film festival?”
      “You’re nuts,” said Delbert.

      http://www.engleson.ca

      Liked by 5 people

  6. Reel Deal

    The guys from the shop noted that the El Camino was not in front of their new favorite pub. Neither was Marge Small’s pickup.
    “Where’s Marge, Nard?”
    “Movies.”
    “Movies? On beer night?”
    “Nick, Nick, Nick, every night is beer night.”
    “Yeah, but this is Friday friggin beer night. What’s got into Marge?”
    “That big goomer she wrestled with here last Friday, that’s what.”
    “Marge likes guys?”
    “She likes this one.”
    “But. We don’t know him.”
    “He’s actually taller than Marge. And. That El Camino? His.”
    “Oh. Okay then. Nard?”
    “Yeah?”
    “I pity the movie goers sitting behind those two.”
    XXX
    Ernest agreed with Marge that her truck would be more comfortable than his El Camino so she drove to the movie theatre. Ernest went to get Marge’s door for her but was too slow.
    Though sore where his date’s truck door struck him, Ernest Biggs felt special buying tickets for two and escorting Marge Small into the theater. All eyes were on this stunning couple, each tall and of ample girth.
    Marge agreed with Ernest that TV at his place would be more comfortable than the theatre. Marge got the door for Ernest who held their buckets of popcorn.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. I went to an indie film festival once, in Footscray – an outer Melbourne suburb, surrounded by a hoard of all those modern, world changing type-people. I loved it. I don’t remember the films, it was a few years ago now, but I remember crying and laughing and feeling utterly shocked and moved. I also remember the tiny glittering lights in the dark and the hush as emotion filled the room and the curtains withdrew and the connection we felt as our awe was shared amongst a room full of strangers.

    I have no idea how to write this into my world though. I’m interested to see what the muse conjures. Time for some brainstorming!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. […] November 4: Flash Fiction Challenge « Carrot Ranch In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a film festival. It can be a small-town indie fest or the Festival de Cannes or anything in between. Who is in the story? An audience-goer, filmmaker, actress, or something unexpected? Throw in some popcorn for fun. Go where the prompt leads! […]

    Liked by 1 person

  9. […] This was written with the prompt film festival from the Carrot Ranch November 4 Flash Fiction Challenge. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  10. […] Carrot RanchNovember 4, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a film festival. It can be a small-town indie fest or the Festival de Cannes or anything in between. Who is in the story? An audience-goer, filmmaker, actress, or something unexpected? Throw in some popcorn for fun. Go where the prompt leads! Respond by November 9, 2021. Imprompt; Quickly QNv5 Consider OBSTACLES […]

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jules says:

    Charli…
    I don’t think anyone should have to be put into a” sparkling sausage casings of a dress.” But then I was never a fashionista 😉

    I doubled up with this haibun:

    Film Flam?

    The small town boasted that unique films would be shown. Not quite a film festival. But classic noir, independent and other short films would be on the screen in the barn that was turned into the viewing room. The flat floor and folding chairs were the least of the obstacles. It was a challenge to find a seat with a good view. And the acoustics weren’t great either. Dad always said you get what you pay for.

    die hard fans
    deal with obstacles
    its their choice

    The room was cold. Couldn’t hear, or see. This place wasn’t for me.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. […] Carrot Ranch is a dynamic online literary community for those practicing their craft, reading stories, and discussing the process. Charlie Mills hosts the weekly Flash Fiction challenge which limits stories to 99 words – no more, no less. This week’s challenge is to write with the theme “Film Festival“ […]

    Liked by 1 person

  13. TanGental says:

    Hi, I’m back, being silly I’m afraid…

    The Little Tittweaking Film Festival

    Little Tittweaking nestled in the bosom of the countryside, happily anonymous. When Colonel Daub Byzantine retired to the old vicarage, he and Maple Byzantine hoped to join a lively community. They were wrong.
    ‘What shall we do?’
    ‘A film festival. Everyone can make their own.’
    The other residents weren’t sure, but mucking in was expected.
    ‘Just supply your films by the closing date. We’ll do the rest.’
    It was therefore with some surprise that the Byzantines received the entry forms covered in a variety of dusts, condensations and mucuses .
    ‘Not everyone sees films like you do, Daub,’ lamented Maple.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Here’s mine for this week, including a brief cultural guide for the edification of non-Australian readers. 🙂

    The Oodnagalahbi Fillum Festival

    Liked by 4 people

  15. […] words inspired by Carrot Ranch, Hull Crossing Chronicles, and Wharton Film […]

    Liked by 2 people

  16. […] time since I’ve done a 99 word Carrotranch prompt so here we go […]

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Leaving’ A Trail

    “Ain’t seen ya at any a the film showin’s Kid. Have ya least checked out the trailers?”
    “Trailers? Them film folks is campin’ out?”
    “Not camper trailers. Movie trailers. Kinda like a visual blurb, get ya innerested in a film.”
    “No time fer any a that Pal. Saloons don’t run themselves ya know. Well, ‘cept when Chel and Colleen take the reins.”
    “Yep, some fine poetry servin’s then. How’s the Author’s Chair?”
    “Got a couple a great writers lined up fer November an’ December. Hope folks come by second Mondays ta engage an’ ask the authors ‘bout their writin’.”
    XXX
    “Yep, the saloon stage is fer the entire Carrot Ranch Literary Community. Folks kin take a seat in the Author’s Chair, kin be innerviewed, or even have their characters come in fer a chat. Jist ‘bout anythin’ goes at the Saddle Up.”
    “Zactly. If someone has a idea or a hankerin’ ta take the stage all they have ta do is run it by our writer D. Avery.”
    First Mondays- Anyone Can Poem with Chel Owens
    Second Mondays- Author’s Chair volunteer
    Third Monday- Double Ennead Challenge with Colleen Chesebro
    Fourth Monday- Interviews & Showcasing
    Fifth Monday- Photo Flash Challenge

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Hello Charli, here’s my contribution, which contains a small announcement about my screenplay Leaving Paradise. https://robertkirkendall.com/2021/11/07/99-word-prompt-film-festival/

    Liked by 3 people

  19. […] for Carrot Ranch’s prompt this […]

    Liked by 2 people

  20. […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (11/04/2021): In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a film festival. It can be a small-town indie fest or the Festival de Cannes or anything in between. Who is in the story? An audience-goer, filmmaker, actress, or something unexpected? Through in some popcorn for fun. Go where the prompt leads! […]

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Liz H says:

    Okay, here we go. A distillation of a longer piece, distilled to one POV and 99 words, no more, no less.

    Grandy’s Last Stand

    Liked by 2 people

  22. […] and find the post you want to copy. In my case, I’m copying a post I wrote for the weekly 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot […]

    Liked by 1 person

  23. […] From Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is this week’s challenge. […]

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I sympathize with Magic. Large crowds to that to me as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. […] Carrot Ranch Challenge:In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story inspired by “Film […]

    Liked by 1 person

  26. ceayr says:

    I really need to get my act together and post something a bit earlier!

    Unwary – Carrot Ranch

    Liked by 3 people

  27. […] for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here to join […]

    Liked by 1 person

  28. 2-inches of snow and a film festival? That sounds like a great way to get the winter season started, Charli.
    And I love how you asked us where the inspiration for our stories came from this week. For me, it was a Tweet I saw.
    Enjoy the popcorn.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. suespitulnik says:

    Traveling, and barely made the deadline…

    The Best Birthday Ever

    Tessa inspected the birthday card sentiment, printed hotel confirmation, flowers, and film festival tickets. She was smiling but tears were ready to run down her cheeks.
    Michael came up beside her, wrapped an arm around her waist, and kissed her cheek. “I thought you would enjoy going to the film festival.”
    “I’m thrilled, because I didn’t think you would even consider it.”
    “Now that I’m out of that wheelchair we can enjoy ideal seats which makes it worth going.”
    “I think you’ve given us both very special gifts.”
    “I’m happy it’s you I’ll be walking next to.”
    “Thank you.”

    Liked by 1 person

  30. The Dream

    It seemed like the worst week in Alicia’s short life. Nothing went right, and she was depressed.

    Returning home, Alicia skipped dinner, chugged her sleeping tablets with wine, conked out, and began to dream.

    Alicia received an invitation to a private film festival; the limo arrived minutes later.

    Swiftly, Alicia was transported to a darkened theater. The film showed scenes from her life, both good and bad. She was surprised that she made an impact on other people, changing their lives.

    Alicia awoke with a changed attitude. She might have bad days, but her life was worth living.

    ~Nancy Brady, 2021

    (Nothing like the last moment. Sorry, Charli.)

    Liked by 2 people

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