Fruit Salad & Flash Fiction


A few years ago, Charli Mills decided to run a flash fiction challenge. People turned up at Carrot Ranch to pen a few words from a prompt. Practicing their craft, exercising their writing muscles, or just having fun.

The responses each week ranged from silly to deadly but always entertained and always told a tale in 99 words.

She had a vision to turn these 99-word tales into a collection from an international community.

The diversity and creativity of participants brought both beauty and complexity. A lot of tweaking, thinking, changing, and rearranging went into this collection. As editor, I had the privilege of participating behind-the-scenes to help create a unified, organized anthology of vastly different pieces by many different writers, all with their own unique style and voice.

Somehow, somewhere in the process, we turned this lovely bunch of writers into a lovely bowl of fruit. Strawberries, bananas, blackberries, and blueberries. Pineapple, kiwi, grapes, and tangerines. (It was quite a mix.)

These tasty treats needed a cohesive element to hold them together. I thought of how sweetened gelatin could suspend within it all sorts of fruits. And that is how I originally presented the ‘blueprints’ for the book. “Hey, Charli. It’s like…erm…a Jello fruit salad. You know what I mean?”

This fruity analogy has stayed with me.

Have you ever made Jello fruit salad? You have to find the right mix of fruit. Then, examine each piece to find the perfect selection. After that, you wash it and trim it. Finally, you add the colored, sugar gelatin. Voilà. A scrumptious dessert.

We worked hard. And I’m proud to share the fruits (and Jello) of our labor with you.

With over 30 writers whipping up flash, short stories, and essays, The Congress of Rough Writers: Volume 1 is a cornucopia of delights.


Huge thank you to all the anthology authors. For being a part of the writing community that Charli created and, ultimately, part of this anthology. By lending your voices, sharing your experiences, and penning great fiction, you have all made this book what it is. Rock on, fellow Rough Writers.



Where you can buy the book: 🙂

Congress of Rough Writers

Amazon Global Link


Where you can write some flash: 🙂

Carrot Ranch


17 thoughts on “Fruit Salad & Flash Fiction

  1. Love the Fruit salad Jello analagy! It’s like the salad bowl, rather than a melting pot of cultures that America was meant to be!
    And FYI, if you’re interested, this ‘mango’ is so excited to be part of the new mix! 😀

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  2. Sarah, thank you so much for your wonderful work in turning this haphazard conglomeration into a polished collection. Your editing work to make it so is much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If you happen to make the vegetarian version with agar agar instead gelatine don’t follow the instructions on the packet to add the powder to the water bit by bit. It goes lumpy. A bit like the wrong glue binding the pages of a book together. Which of course doesn’t apply to this book. Thanks for choosing the fruits so carefully. It’s a good read and I’m proud to be part of it.

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    • Ah, yes. The algae version is probably better for you regardless of whether you’re vegetarian or not. (Thanks for the cooking tip–no one wants lumpy dessert.) 🙂 Thank you for being part of this anthology. So pleased you wrote an extended flash, too. It really is lovely.

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  4. Ah ha, I forget you’re also over here mixing things up in the surf. I’ll have a veggie version of that fruit salad myself but I’m equally happy to stick all the bright pieces together with a dollop of soft ice-cream.
    And now I guess we have to play the game, ‘If I was a fruit, what fruit would I be?” Hmmm, I think Lime. A bit green and I need all those other sweet things to soften the hit.
    Thank you for stirring the pot so well. It’s looking like a perfect mix.

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    • Jello is a great analogy but soft ice cream is better IRL, in my opinion. Thanks, Lisa. 🍏🍓🍊

      Gah! You’re right. I’ve opened a can of worms (erm…can of pears?) for a game here, haven’t I? Lime is fantastic. Good choice. Now. What fruit would I be? Watermelon? Possibly some sort of berry..but which one? Pomegranate? Ah. I think perhaps, a lychee. A bit unusual, sweet, but not too sweet, and tucked inside a hard shell. Yup. I’m a lychee. 🙂

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