Last week, Kid (from the imagination and pen of Ranch Yarnist, D. Avery), mentioned the Ranch didn’t need to be overrun with cryptozoologists. Kid actually has a fun idea.
Cryptids are fantastical.
It was an early Carrot Ranch collection of 99-word stories that featured The Fantastical in June 2014. For several months, I marveled every time writers showed up to play with the 99-word art form with me. I began noticing the Collections held magic.
“Magic is seeing wonder in nature’s every little thing, seeing how wonderful the fireflies are and how magical are the dragonflies.”Ama H.Vanniarachchy
Art, in all its forms, expresses that wonder. With each individual perspective, idea, and image, the Collections became literary magic. To this day, it remains my favorite attribute of art-ing together weekly. When I arrange the individual stories, I see the wonder of creativity expanding collectively. Each story has merit; but as a collection, a living image rises up out of the whole, engaging readers more deeply than a a solo story. Writers and readers collaborate and inspire more wonder.
Expected the unexpected as you evolve as a writer.
Once I noticed the magic in the 99-word stories, I also noticed that we were collectively writing into a dark abyss. Reflecting back, I think we were perhaps finding a measure of trust among a group of online people from across the world. We were brave enough to walk into the dark of creativity together. To lighten the tone and share the magic I was feeling, I dared the first unicorns of the Ranch. Darker still, we wrote and yet we created one of the most profound collections.
Cryptids, though thought to be eerie, can be funny and cute, too. They make for an interesting prompt. But Kid’s question put me into a state of wonder — what are cryptozoologists like? Who are the people who study the unstudiable? How does mythology connect? How does the science of the unseen function? Why do some people want to bamboozle others? What would the Ranch look like if it were crawling with cryptozoologists? (Sorry, Kid, but you did compel the image.)
Whether you light a bonfire or don a costume to celebrate any variation of Halloween, a Peaceful Samhain Full Moon Day of the Dead & Sugar Skulls to all.
October 24, 2023, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a cryptozoologist. Who is this character? What cryptids do they research and why? Are they serious about their work, skeptical, or scheming to fool others? Go where the prompt leads!
- Submit by October 31, 2023. Please use the form below if you want to be published in the weekly collection. The Collection publishes on the Thursday following the next Challenge. Stories must be 99 words. Rules & Guidelines.
- Writers retain all copyrights to any stories published at Carrot Ranch.
- A website or social media presence is not required to submit. A blog or social media link will be included in the title of any story submitted with one.
- Please include your byline with your title on one line. Example: Little Calves by Charli Mills. Your byline can be different from your name.
- Please include the hashtag #99WordStories when sharing either the Challenge or Collection posts on social media.