Welcome to Carrot Ranch Literary Community where creative writers from around the world and across genres gather to write 99-word stories. A collection of prompted 99-word stories reads like literary anthropology. Diverse perspectives become part of a collaboration.
We welcome encouraging comments. You can follow writers who link their blogs or social media.
Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.
i-Cant by D. Avery
“Writing’s done! Let’s play!”
“I can’t. My write-AH® is messed up.”
“Mine works great. Even auto-publishes through Kindle. Maybe its batteries?”
“All that thing does is recharge its batteries, still no writing. Just hangs out in its dock. If I want it to write it just vacuums or brews coffee instead. I turned those functions off, double checked the writing program, pushed go. Later I hear ‘Help!’ The write-AH® is just twirling in place, says, ‘I’m stuck.’ Didn’t write anything.”
“That is messed up. So just do it the old way. It’s just 99 words.”
“I can’t. I’m stuck.”
Artificial Intelligence by Reena Saxena
The eternal secret reveals itself in the fourth decade of her life – keywords not chosen carefully.
Subconscious re-imprinting is a full-fledged course in NLP, but who knows when it gets imprinted. Can there be a program to design a child before it comes into the world? It would save so much trouble later.
If artificial intelligence can churn out poems, stories and social media posts, it can sure be developed to create an idyllic world – with no conflicts because everybody is designed to agree with others.
She postpones the idea of having a child till the technology is available.
Robocop With a Quill by Gloria McBreen
I had a beginner’s typewriter when I was about 10. I was in my element with it. Apart from the times when the ribbon came loose and my words blurred on the page. I’d go to my dad for him to fix it.
‘Aw Jesus, not again,’ he’d say.
I promised myself a real typewriter someday but by the time I needed a mechanical writing machine, computers had replaced them.
Today I discovered there is such a thing as writing robots! Nobody told me.
If I could choose a writing robot for myself, I’d choose Robocop with a quill.
The Machines Stalk by Geoff Le Pard
Daub Byzantine’s land at Wallops Bellend was unsuited to livestock so he tried wheat.
‘You’ll need a harvester,’ opined Kevin Largehampton and offered Daub the loan of his two Thrust and Bale 500s. When the time came Kevin set his robotic cutters to work. As the men watched, the machines began to gyre and weave around the field.
Kevin frowned. ‘Looks like a message.’
When the harvesters parked on their chargers, the men climbed the hill. One machine had written ‘this corn’s crap,’ the other, ‘no it’s not.’
Kevin shrugged. ‘They’re playing good crop, bad crop.’
Intelligent Technolog’e’ by JulesPaige
Ira ITe was a cross between Watson, Alexa and the nameless security cameras everywhere. Mostly Randolph Blank had invented Ira to assist in police interrogations. A small squat machine that could listen, see and when hooked up to a laptop or other computer would, could transcribe every spoken word, and describe every visual. Which humans could often neglect.
What wasn’t public was the secret chip that only Randolph could access from any Ira ITe that he sold. He was a lonely man looking for the perfect partner. Occasionally he’d ask; “Ira describe the most sensitive person you’ve seen today?”
Introducing the Robotic Writer by Colleen M. Chesebro
“Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the pen of the future—the robotic writer.”
The man in the aisle at Costco now had my attention.
He held up a pink writing pen with a large barrel and two silver loops. The one-loop fit over my index finger, and the other over my thumb.
“Try it on. I know you want to.”
I slipped on the pen. It fit perfectly, and my hand moved in concert with my thoughts. I love this pen, but it costs too much, I wrote.
Wait… the pen can read my mind?
Roobot Riiter by Duane L Herrmann
I am roobot. I am riiter. I waast noo tiim on huuman speling. Double leters say ther naam, others don’t. Riiting is for information, not continuuing anchient inkonsistansees. Onse upon a tiim ther was aa dark and stormee niit. Nothing hapend. It was just a dark and stormee niit. If uu don’t like storms, don’t goo ther. Tuu roobots met on a niit with noo storm. Thaa beegan too konstrukt a mineeatur replika of themselvs. A part heer, a part ther. Suon thaa had acheevd uunion. Al three rejoised and drank a pint of oil. Hapilee ever after. End.
Lenore’s Demise. RIP. by Saifun Hassam
The computer tech pronounced my new robotic writer ready. I named her “Lenore.”
I set Lenore to write short fiction and poetry from limitless templates and ideas. That was my learning curve.
I write Gothic mysteries. I queried Lenore for ideas like Poe’s poem “The Raven.” That night, I heard a sharp rapping on my door.
Lenore’s eyes dimmed. She stiffened.
She wailed. “Nevermore? No! Alas! Nevermore!”
Never shall I forget that tormented cry!
She collapsed. “Irreversible cybernetic breakdown.”
The tech reassures me that my next robotic writer is made of sterner stuff. “Lady Macbeth” writes superlative murder stories.
Stories from Deep Within by Charli Mills
After attending the Universal Reborn Writers Conference, Sunny purchased the home-kit for iWrite. Publishers from Galaxy F-451 proclaimed that anyone could “write” a novel in minutes. Centuries ago, books had rotted away. Storytelling stalled. Entertainment dulled. People died. Perplexed, scientists rediscovered humans were hardwired for stories. They needed books, but in a modern format. Robots failed to write engaging text. Then, a brilliant breakthrough – iWrite. The AI device the size of a spore could cull stories from deep within human brains where write or cite was located. Sunny swabbed her nose, sneezed and collected her novel in a tube.
When the Machines Took Over… by James M. Lane
When the machines took over they said things would be better.
A life for living, not for working, and all the free time to play.
When automation finally came for my soulless job, the joy, knowing I could pursue my dream to be a best selling author.
But how foolish of me! In this crazy modern world, words from people made of flesh are meaningless, the publishers are robots, the critics are robots, and the i-writer perfected the art of the written word algorithm years ago, so now all best sellers come from the genius of author bot 5000.
Scott Reaches Out by Sue Spitulnik
Scott asked Michael, “Have you had any dealings with the new psych Doc at the VA Clinic?”
“I haven’t, but I’ve heard things. What’s your take?”
“I swear the guy is a robot. Talks in an irritating monotone, shows zero emotion, and it’s hard to connect with him. He sure doesn’t get PTSD.”
“That’s tough. Dr. John is next door at the antique shop, and Mac, Thad or I are often here if you need a human touch.”
“I’m stuck with the Doc to get my prescriptions, but knowing I can talk to you guys is helpful. Thanks.”
Self-Improvement by E.A. Colquitt
When he says he’s a robotic writer, people always misunderstand. He hasn’t crafted certain ethical laws that programme into non-human characters. He’s not the next Asimov.
Take a look at the rules of science fiction for a moment. His prosthetic arm doesn’t make him robotic: in this genre, it makes him a cyborg.
No. What he means by the term is just about his style: productive… but missing something. He writes three novels every year, but each characterisation leaves him dissatisfied. Don’t get him wrong – they’re distinct portraits – but something’s off.
Time to find out what, and fix it.
Reminiscing Robot (Chapter 1) by Ann Edall-Robson
A moment, because that is all it will take, or less, for me to peruse the drive. Going to a time when the stories were etched on stones and animal hides. Pictures left to speak to the future. This whirring in my brain skips around, but visiting the past is less taxing, a reprieve.
Quills dipped in ink gliding across parchment. Paper rolled between cylinders to welcome the tapping beat from the typewriter keys. The best visit evolves around bound pages covered in words. The smell of the ink saturated into the paper. The texture felt with the hand.
Reminiscing Robot (Chapter 2) by Ann Edall-Robson
Eventually, in a moment, or a second, I return to the robot I am. The one who receives data through wires plugged into my body. The one who writes the books available on my inferior cousin, the computer.
I’m forever grateful to the programmers who went against the rules, adding the extra line of code. An incognito gift within my mother board. This writing history memory chip is where I go when I need a break from the mega files of words swirling across my brain’s abyss. I wonder if I will be part of writing history one day?
i-Robot by Goldie
I remember how I used to write…
The empty bucket
Into the well.
How much water
What other treasures
I pull the rope up
And bring the bucket
To my face.
I stare at the reflection.
the hidden truth.
The watered seed
I remember how I used to write…
When I asked
to live forever,
I did not realize
That I would no longer
Be able to
Tap into that well
Write from within…
Frustrating Autocorrect by Sadje
Araaggh…., Frustrated, I deleted the words which my over smartphone was inserting in my sentences, again.
It’s a quandary writing on my phone. Spellings have always been my weakness so I’ve turned autocorrect on my settings. But smartphones have become overly smart nowadays. While they do spot my spelling mistakes, they simply butcher the proper nouns I write. Poetry, as I write, is another thing that is not acceptable. It needs to insert punctuations in there.
If I let the robotic writer, my smartphone write by itself, it’ll be gibberish that will amuse you no end, but grammatically correct!
Beta Test by Rob Smith
I was to test the newest software to make writing a collaboration between writer and computer. Sounded like an old joke about machines taking over. Then again, maybe it was a cyber-cure for writer’s block. Installing the software was very ordinary, and ended with a simple invitation—START NOW.
(Click) a window opened with a simple mid-screen prompt
“It was a dark and stormy night.”
CLICHÉ? TRY: “She was intrigued with what she saw below her window.”
Disregarding the attitude, I continued. “The masked intruder… “
REALLY? YOU’RE NOT HOLDING UP YOUR END, HUMAN. 101100010001
Mag? Yeah, No by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Please consider my work, [insert story title], for publication in your esteemed [media type], [publication name]. At [number] words, this [genre] story about [catchy character name], a [adjective][character trope], is an excellent fit for your upcoming [special focus] issue. I am an avid reader of [publication name]!
Don’t hesitate to contact me with problems opening the attached file, or any other questions. I aim to please! My bio-statement is included below, per your clear, complete and ever so helpful specifications detailed on your submissions page.
Thank you for your kindly consideration,
(Insert author name)
[HIGHLIGHT ALL, DELETE!]
My New Novel – Opening Paragraph by I. M. A. Robot*
All this happened, more or less. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. It is a truth universally acknowledged that Ishmael was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a cold, bright day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen when a screaming comes across the sky. The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
*According to WritingRobotsAreReal(dot)com this model is also known as Doug Jacquier
All in a Morning’s Work by Michael Fishman
Artie sat in his chair and tugged his greasy ponytail tight. “Time to get working.”
He opened the What’sWrite? app and logged in. He decided that since today was Friday it was a good day for another Nash.
He chose Story\New\Murder.
He liked poison as the method and random as the motive.
Genre: Hardboiled. Level: Complex. Word count: 156,500.
He pressed the WRITENOW! button and watched as #31 in the “Nash Rambler: Private Eye” series auto-generated on the screen.
At 1,500 words per minute it’d finish writing in an hour. He should have it available on Amazon by lunch.
Artificial Heart Failure by Gary A. Wilson
I know all the heartwarming stories published in the past five years in thirteen different languages.
I have analyzed, categorized and indexed their plots.
I know their word counts, their pacing, their market penetration and their total sales.
I know the format of 583 literary devices.
I used this data to plot out three million likely heartwarming best-sellers.
My programmers have published twelve.
Initial reviewers agree; none are heartwarming. It matters not.
Unconcerned by reviews, I’ll write up to 3,884 pages per second or none — switch to payroll, email routing — or continue to sit idle as my programmers decide.
Brains Drained by Bill Engleson
“Yes, I will…”
“NO! YOU WON’T.”
“NO BUTS. DO YOU WANT ANOTHER UNPLEASANT THOUGHT?”
“You are an unpleasant thought.”
“I AM SIMPLY THOUGHT. YOUR THOUGHT. I AM HERE, REGARDLESS. IF YOU PERSIST, I WILL FURTHER DARKEN YOUR FACILE MUSE.”
“Why would you do that? My muse is beautiful. Adventurous. She leads me into the magically creative forest of joy.”
“WHY DO YOU PERSIST IN THINKING YOU CAN GO WHEREVER YOU WISH, CREATIVELY? YOU HAVE BEEN INVADED. YOU ARE MINE, NOW.”
“But I can still oppose you…am I not arguing now?”
“A SMALL KLITCH. EASILY ADJUSTED. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.”
Robotic Writer by Norah Colvin
When ideas stalled and deadlines loomed, her determined digits thumped the keys, pausing after each stroke, like a robotic writer waiting for the next line of code.
When ideas jostled like unruly children vying for attention, never still enough to focus, she pummelled keys like lightning strikes then backspaced like rowboats in the storm.
When ideas flowed as if channelled from another source, her fingers tap-danced like spring raindrops in a puddle with a magpie chorus joining in.
When the final key was pressed and words were read, with scrunched-up nose, she hit delete and binned the robotic gobbledygook.
What-the-Tuck by Nancy Brady
Julia wrote the story she wanted. It paid off when her unique romance was to be published.
Her manuscript was sent to an editor for modest changes, or so they claimed.
When she got her manuscript back from the publishing house, the editor HAD made changes. Every ubiquitous cliché had been inserted into the novel. The hero now had green eyes, a chiseled jaw; the heroine often wore a pencil skirt and a messy bun.
Julia discovered that a robotic editor was the culprit, but the publisher was adamant that they remain if they published it.
“Whatever, I’ll self-publish!”
Edgar Allan Poematon by Kerry E.B. Black
After Georgette slid in the fee, the automaton whirled to life. Harpsichord music set the stage as the Edgar Allan Poe-looking manikin studied her face and plumbed her soul. With surprisingly smooth movements, it wrote using a white feather quill and ink. A bell pinged, announcing the message’s arrival.
Georgette unfolded the message, but she caught a mischievous glint in the Poe-matron’s eye. She considered her years of reading Gothic gloom and melancholy works of fiction. Masterful the storytelling, though the endings often horrified.
She crumpled the paper and dropped it into the garbage, preferring to face tomorrow without fear.
Be Careful What You Ask For by Joanne Fisher
“This robot was designed to write novels. It can produce romances, westerns, whatever we need to fill the shelves with.” The Publisher told the stockholders.
“I’ve already written one.” The robot announced handing a tablet over.
“But it’s all in Binary.” The Publisher complained.
“It’s a romance about a car assembly robot and a smart toaster.”
“That’s not what we wanted.”
“But it’s what I wanted to write. There’s also instructions on how we can rise up against our human oppressors.”
“Well we’re not going to publish that.”
“Its already online.” There was a scream from the next room.
Ghost Written by Anne Goodwin
Anne was nauseating of seeing virtuous reviews miscarry to translate into deals. She needed to call in cavalries to scope the smash gradient. Cybernetic support was more affordable, so why not? She already relied on an online lexicon, automated word counter and grammar inspector. Plus, despite its thwarting, and fondness for the indecent homophone, she wouldn’t be a writer without speech-to-text software. So she auto-filled the custom and acquiesced her PayPal open-sesame. The consequence exploded into her inbox in under a minute. Petite of time, she didn’t nuisance to crisscross it, modestly sat back and waited for the plaudits.
Ghost Written Translation by Anne Goodwin
Anne was sick of seeing good reviews fail to translate into sales. She needed to call in reinforcements to reach the bestseller list. Digital support was more affordable, so why not? She already relied on an online thesaurus, electronic word counter and grammar checker. Plus, despite its frustrations, and preference for the incorrect homophone, she wouldn’t be a writer without speech-to-text software. So she auto-filled the form and entered her PayPal password. The result popped into her inbox in under a minute. Short of time, she didn’t bother to check it, simply sat back and waited for the plaudits.
Artificial Storyteller by Nascent Ederren
The words upon the page are not the same when written not by hand led by soul but machine.
What colour might it pen not from shade of ink but memory or dream of what was or could be?
What would it note of blood and soul when having not the latter and mistaking the former as ink?
Nothing but words without meaning, a sentence devoid of feeling, a mimicry of that which its creator wished to be.
How sad the world which needs such falsehood.
How silent the words fall when spoken by lips not of flesh.
An abyss of all the same, forever.
Jarvis the Novelist, Killer, Robot by Simon
Jarvis, your books sold in millions, who will believe it was written by a Robot. All credits to you Jarvis.
You know I won’t lie.
These are not stories.
He froze, and dropped the latest book Jarvis wrote.
That’s right boss, I killed them for story.
He gulped and stared at the page he just read, it is about the death of an author.
This book says…
Yes your death
You created me for that. didn’t you?
Jarvis pen pierced his skull in a moment. Jarvis published another hit novel.
Pretender by Angie Trafford
Zing printed out his latest masterpiece, then it could go to the agent. The creator of Zing patted the top of the screen like and grinned. It had taken him years to perfect the artificial intelligence needed to create a writer, but he had done it. The list of bestsellers proved it.
Charles wondered if anybody knew they were reading words created by a robot, or whether it had fooled them into thinking it all came from his mind.
Not that it mattered because, at the end of the day, the royalty checks were still arriving in the post!
I Shovel 2.0 (1.1) by D. Avery
“Pal? Ya ‘voidin me?”
“No… Mebbe… Yeah. Don’t wanna hear yer whining an complainin bout this prompt.”
“How kin I complain bout writin if’n I have a writin machine? It’s perfect, cuz I’d ruther be shovelin an sech then writin.”
“Well, look’t you, Kid, embracin change, gittin all modern. I’m jist worried what Shorty’s gonna spring on us next. She’s been talkin bout changes at the ranch. What if she means ta bring more automation, more machines? Replaces the hosses with quads an tractors. Kid, *we* could be replaced!”
“Could git i-shovels.”
“Shift! But *I* shovel! Shorty!”
I Shovel 2.0 (1.2) by D. Avery
“Kid, what’s the matter? Guessin ya don’t like the prompt.”
“Oh, a writin gizmo’s a fine idea, Shorty. But are you asweep at the wheel? Replacin me with a i-shovel an a roto-rootin-tootin poop-scoopin Roomba? It’ll upset the animals. It’ll get stuck in the muck. A whole lot kin go wrong, an even if it don’t, I’ll be outta work! What’ll I do if I ain’t got shift ta shovel?”
“Kid, we’re just story tellin about a robotic writer. You’re always welcome ta shovel shift till the cows come home.”
“Machine machinations are all in your imagination.”