Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction is a weekly challenge followed by a compilation based on responses. It’s open to all writers. The regulars are dubbed, the Congress of Rough Writers, styled after Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show.
Flash fiction is a style of literature that is brief, though exact word counts vary between 750 and 1,500 words. You might have seen it as micro, short shorts, sudden and postcard fiction. At Carrot Ranch, flash fiction is even shorter: 99 words. No more. No less.
The brevity is a constraint. Why practice constraints in writing? It can help you identify excess words. After a while, it becomes second nature to eliminate the fluff. It can also present a puzzle to your mind and when working out a solution you might write something profound. Constraints can lead to breakthroughs in your writing.
Another reason to practice writing flash fiction regularly is that it doesn’t have to be time consuming. You’re busy. You’ve other projects. Although writers write, they don’t often get to practice. Or play. This is a chance to sharpen skills, try new techniques or swap a point of view. It can help you digest large pieces of information, such as research, back-story or plot. You are free to explore the development of a character or a new story idea.
Each week has a new prompt on Wednesdays. Respond by noon (PST) the following Tuesday to be included in the weekly compilation. Here are the ranch rules:
Everyone is welcome. You don’t have to have a blog or even consider yourself a writer. Pretentiousness doesn’t grow here at Carrot Ranch. We are not running a contest or comparing your words to those of another writer. We are practicing the craft of fiction and building a friendly literary community.
You don’t have to play every week. Everyone has busy seasons or unexpected detours in life. The challenge is offered weekly because regular practice of craft leads to real results. What you write here as a response might be the seed of a story you enlarge for a contest or paid submission. I had a seed grow into a novel idea!
We love comments! Real people are writing at Carrot Ranch and it’s an engaging group. Part of the literary dynamic is discourse, which is the communication of ideas. Personally, I believe in building on strengths so you’ll notice that my comments reflect what I see as a strength of the story or your writing. I also believe in encouragement. No one improves their craft in an environments of getting torn down. There is a place for constructive criticism, but that’s not what we are doing as we practice.
Congress of Rough Writers are the regulars who show up to write the range and wrangle the words. Not everyone shows up weekly and there are no rules or expectations or blogligations for Rough Writers. If you write, even once, you are our Friend. Write around the ranch with us regularly and we might rope you into the Congress. You’ll see upcoming calls for the Rough Writers to participate in proposed collaborations and if you are interested, well, write with us!
As to “rating” of material, you can do what you’d like as long as you link from Carrot Ranch to your own space. If you leave it in the comments, keep it clean. I’m not squeaky clean; there are no children reading this (unless you are mine and I know those hoodlums aren’t squeaky clean; besides, they are adults). R-rating is fine. It’s the extreme stuff that probably wouldn’t fit the verve of what we are establishing as a friendly literary community.
Rules of Play:
- New Flash Fiction challenge issued at Carrot Ranch each Wednesday by noon (PST).
- Response is to be 99 words. Exactly. No more. No less.
- Response is to include the challenge prompt of the week.
- Post your response on your blog before the following Tuesday by noon (PST) and share your link in the comments section of the challenge that you are responding to.
- If you don’t have a blog or you don’t want to post your flash fiction response on your blog, you may post your response in the comments of the current challenge post.
- Keep it is business-rated if you do post it here, meaning don’t post anything directly on my blog that you wouldn’t want your boss to read.
- Create community among writers: read and comment as your time permits, keeping it fun-spirited.
- Each Tuesday I will post a compilation of the responses for readers.
- You can also follow Carrot Ranch Communications by “liking” the Facebook page.
- First-time comments are filtered by Word Press and not posted immediately. I’ll find it (it goes to my email) and make sure it gets posted! After you have commented once, the filter will recognize you for future commenting. Sorry for that inconvenience, but I do get frequent and strange SPAM comments, thus I filter.