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April 16: Flash Fiction Challenge

Carrot Ranch Flash FictionLife. It’s our stories.

Even when we write fiction, it’s our own stories that bubble up–how we process the world; how we describe the way a red lunar moon appears to us at midnight; how we felt when our cousins visited back in 1977.

When I see Rocky Mountain tree swallows tumble and dive, hawking for the first batch of spring insects, I remember the crush I once had on a boy in school who made paper airplanes. When I think of that crush, I can transport it to a character, scene or plot. Or I can try to recall more details of fifth grade and their implications on my life today.

One path leads to fiction and another to memoir. Yet, both are forms of creative writing. And both draw upon our vast resources of stories.

This week, I met up with @FlashMemoirs on Twitter. Part of building a literary community around weekly practice of flash fiction is to connect with others who enjoy the flash craft. Christine Houser, Founder of Flash Memoirs, has had “a lifelong passion for petite, pithy, personal stories.”

Her blog reminded me that flash can also communicate memory. The key element is that of storytelling. If you are interested in memoir (and flash), read her article, Your Memoir Vs. Your Memory. I especially like the quote she uses from Bill Roorbach in Writing Life Stories:

“To me the first goal, the first excellence, is artistic. The needs of other excellences, such as accuracy, must follow the needs of [storytelling] in a kind of hierarchy that helps me make decisions as I write.”

For this week’s prompt, we are going to write biographies. Since this is flash fiction, you might want to use this prompt as an exercise to explore a character your are writing or thinking of developing. If you have developed an alter-ego, maybe you want to explore how he or she is different from you. And, if you want to practice a flash memoir, go ahead and overlook “fiction” for the week and see what kind of bio you can create. Christine Houser has a lyrical bio on her About page in the “I Remember” style of memoirist, Joe Brainard.

All writers, word dabblers, story wranglers and curiosity seekers are welcome to join the challenge! Together we can make literature a part of everyday life online. If you just want to read, that’s participation, too. Last week’s compilations are posted at White Flowers. Comments are welcome!

April 16, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a biography for a character, alter-ego or you. Respond by noon (PST) Tuesday, April 22 to be included in the compilation. My contribution follows and is the flash bio for my protagonist–hopefully, the first of many novel protagonists.

Dr. Danni Gordon by Charli Mills

Nevada ranches, home sweet childhood home, no more. Bayfield resident with view of sailboats, Madeline Island, tourists and town along Lake Superior. Northern Wisconsin. Archeologist of records and dirt. Into historic bottles—purple and brown glass—evidence of old fisheries. Also likes bottles of Oregon Pinot Noir. Dog-owner, reluctantly. Dog-defender, by chance. Wife of Iraqi contract soldier. Friend, reluctantly, to the one who calls her Bone Digger. Battling knavish vets and annoying stoic deputies. Stuck to bird cage. Stuck on Ike. Stuck with dogs. Stuck teaching kids. Learns of love through hounds. And her forever pup. Miracle of Ducks.


Rules of Play:

  1. New Flash Fiction challenge issued at Carrot Ranch each Wednesday by noon (PST).
  2. Response is to be 99 words. Exactly. No more. No less.
  3. Response is to include the challenge prompt of the week.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Create community among writers: read and comment as your time permits, keeping it fun-spirited.
  8. Each Tuesday I will post a compilation of the responses for readers.
  9. You can also follow on Carrot Ranch Communications by “liking” the Facebook page.
  10. 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.