Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Home » Flash Fiction » Challenge Rules

Challenge Rules

A Weekly Flash Fiction Challenge is posted every Thursday. Responses are due by the following Tuesday. Respond by comment or link. On the following Wednesday, Carrot Ranch publishes a compilation of responses arranged to artfully explore the prompt.


  1. Follow the weekly blog post for each new flash fiction challenge.
  2. Respond with 99 words. Exactly. No more. No less.
  3. Title is not required or included in the 99 word count.
  4. Include the challenge prompt of the week in your response.
  5. Go where the prompt leads (it’s about creative problem-solving, not accuracy).
  6. Post your response on your blog before the deadline and share your link in the comments section of the challenge you are responding to.
  7. 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.
  8. Keep it business-rated if you do post it at Carrot Ranch, meaning don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your boss to read.
  9. Create community among writers: Read and comment as your time permits, keeping it fun-spirited.
  10. If you want to be considered for publication in the weekly collection, also submit your response using the form provided in the challenge post. Three writers will be featured in The Roundup (a newsletter for readers). Authors retain full rights.


Writers have journeyed the literary trail at Carrot Ranch since 2014. They come for the prompt but stay for the community. It’s a safe place to explore and practice craft. You get out of the Ranch what you want.

Everyone is welcome. You don’t have to have a blog or even consider yourself a 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.

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. Focus on strengths and what is working or engaging in a flash.

Congress of Rough Writers is the group of regular writers who started early and helped build the Ranch. They are also willing to collaborate and lead events. Open calls happen once a year and may include contest winners from the previous Rodeo.

As to “rating” of material, keep it at the level of what you’d show to your boss. Extreme subject matter probably wouldn’t fit the verve of what we are establishing as a friendly literary community. If you do include adult topics that might trigger others, give a warning, post it on your own site and share the link. We respect a diverse community.