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

 

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Flash Fiction Contest: TwitterFlash 9×11

 

This contest asks writers to pen a flash in 99 words composed in tweets: 11 tweets, 9 words each. Here’s my attempt (not an entry, just challenging myself for fun). First are the actual tweets, then, same story in 11 sentences (each with 9 words).

Psst…the tweets are interactive. Like, RT, or reply right from this post. Give it a go…

 

 

~~~

They find me. Crouched behind a rusted filing cabinet.

Gloved hands grip my bare arms, lifting me easily.

Shoving me into bright sun outside the hospital ward.

I run back, stumble, fall hard on the asphalt.

I reach for the door. I reach for him.

Balancing on my left palm, I almost make it.

With their heavy boots, they step on my fingers.

They laugh. I shout. They threaten. I kick. Dammit!

They grab me, make me promise to stay away.

Tell me he is sick and dangerous. They lie.

Then, again, so do I. They will die tonight.

~~~

 

 

Tweet some fiction, fellow tweeps. You could win $25. 🙂 Check it out here.

Flash Fiction Contest: When I Grow Up

 

This contest asked writers to pen a flash in 100 words from the perspective (and voice) of your 6-yr-old self about…you guessed it…”When I Grow Up”. Here’s my attempt (not an entry, just challenging myself for fun).

 

Potentially Right

I hear them.

I’m in the hallway at school, cuddling Oscar, my purple owl stuffie. I’m petting his fur. Owls don’t have fur but I pretend it’s feathers. And that’s okay.

Their voices creep from under the door with number 17 on it. That’s my classroom. Words like “simple” and “incapable” hit me. I pull Oscar closer. They say I do not understand things.

I don’t like coloring circles in red and squares in blue to prove I know the difference. I know.

I know trapezoids, octagons, parallelograms… I want to find a new shape, maybe, when I grow up.

 

Flash Fiction Contests

 

Check out the flash fiction contests this month at Carrot Ranch. They start today and a new one is up every Tuesday and Thursday.

 

 

Click here to see the information for each contest.

There’s something for everyone.

Pick one (or more) and join in.

Free to enter. $25 prizes.

 

Go write some flash! 🙂 #FFRodeo

 

Selfless #Flash4Storms

 

Night is soft, quiet, speaking in layered moonlight.

Listen.

She whispers through trees, between branches.

Do not be afraid. You are not alone…

Beautiful darkness soothes us even though she knows it is her that we fear.

 

 

Written for the hurricane relief flash fiction challenge over at Lemon Shark. I’ve just raised the first $1. 🙂 See? That was easy. Hope you join in.

#Flash4Storms

#LemonSharkCharity

 

Circle of Death

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each tweet, alone, is a micro with beginning, middle, and end. But, together, they make a little story.

I can collect tweets and create a post. Normally, they’d be from different dates, have different hashtags, and be inspired by different prompts.

For this one, though, I wrote a few silly tweets yesterday to use as an example for the ‘Embedding Tweets’ post on Lemon Shark. (And it was fun…) 🙂

 

February Writespirations: A Collection

 

writespiration-2017-february

Each week, Sacha Black challenges writers to pen a piece in 52 words. Exactly 52. You know I love micro fiction and you know I love a challenge. So, here are my entries for the February prompts:

~~~

Week: February 2
Prompt: Time / Stack / Juice / Pigeon (include all four words in the 52-word story)

Taking Stock

He spent his lunch break stacking juice, cereal boxes, candy bars…pigeon-holed by his supervisors as a dim-witted stock boy. He would never make it to cashier never mind manager.

His position gave him time to think and, within two years, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in quantum physics.

~~~

Week: February 8
Prompt: That moment you see your ex with their hot, new bit and you look like turd

That Stings

I spotted him at the gas pump, a blonde in his car applying mascara.

Unshowered, clinging to a bottle of cheap vodka, I staggered over.

“Sheila?!”

“See you’re hiring hookers,” I gestured to the blonde.

“They’re ‘escorts’. Pricey but worth it.” He grinned.

I smiled, reaching for my badge. “Baker? We got him.”

~~~

Week: February 15
Prompt: The Distance Between

Between Lives

When I was little, I wanted to visit the moon.

My mother laughed. My father explained the distance between the earth and the moon.

My grandparents said I was spoiled. Which had nothing to do with the moon, but they never missed a chance to say it.

My teacher told me about astronauts.

~~~


Week: February 23
Prompt: Choke

Dinner for One

He sat across from me, leaning back, arms crossed. “Go to hell.”

“Maybe,” I shrugged. “Maybe I’ll see you there. But, for me, not today.”

“What’s that supposed…” he grabbed his throat, glaring at me.

“Don’t worry, love. The choking won’t last long. Your heart will give out before it becomes too uncomfortable.”

 

January Writespirations: A Collection

 

writespiration-2017-january

 

Each week, Sacha Black challenges writers to pen a piece in 52 words. Exactly 52. You know I love micro fiction and you know I love a challenge. So, here are my entries for the January prompts:

~~~

Week: January 4
Prompt: The Timer Started

Blonde Bombshell

“I don’t know!” He struggled against the ropes binding his wrists. “I swear…”

“Tick, tock,” she examined her nails. “The timer started,” she glanced at the bomb, “six seconds ago.”

“You have the wrong man!”

“Aw. Now why’d you do that?” She grabbed his chin. “I. Don’t. Like. Liars.”

“Please…”

“Too late.”

~~~


Week: January 18
Prompt: Lost Things

Searching

It hadn’t worked. But she didn’t regret a thing she’d done to try.

She accepted a folded pile of clothes from the guard and shuffled in line with the other women. She glanced back at the man. Fifteen years shifted around the walls in her mind.

She stopped.

His eyes went wide. “Mum?”

~~~


Week: January 25
Prompt: One Hundred

Chilopodophobia

“I wonder if they actually have one hundred legs,” he dangled the centipede inches from her nose.

She shook her head and took a step back, bumping into the counter.

He took a step forward. “No? You don’t wonder? Or, no, you don’t want to know how I’m going to find out?”

 

The House of Clouds

 

pink-clouds-sig

 

The lovely and talented Ali Isaac recently posted about trees. One thing led to another and we were chatting on about teen poetry. You know how that goes.

Anyway, she said something about writing a cringe-worthy poem about trees when she was sixteen. To which I replied something along the lines of:

“Pfft! My teen angst poetry kicks your teen poetry’s arse. It is SO bad. I won’t even share it online. In fact, I don’t know where it is. In fact, I never wrote it.”

To which she said how fun a teen angst poetry slam would be (sort of) which I took as a challenge. I attempted to reach back through the years, channeling my sixteen-year-old self, to recreate some teen angst poetry. I failed. But…here is an actual poem I wrote. I somehow remembered this verbatim from my first year at university. I was seventeen years old.

 

 

It smelled like chocolate lavender

Inside the house of clouds

And thoughts of tiny animals

Were clearly heard out loud

 

Vanilla rose smiled up at me

Then motioned toward the light

And as my feet sank in the clouds

The day gave way to night

 

If I Could Shake the Sky

 

snow-falling-at-night-sig-blue

 

If I could catch sunbeams,

I’d light your darkest days,

warming your heart when the world seems too cold to bear.

 

If I could shake the sky,

I’d sprinkle stars,

covering you with glittering dust, magic clinging to skin and hair.

 

If I could reach the clouds,

I’d twirl their softness,

making cotton candy to sweeten the bitterness of life.

 

 

This is inspired by a tweet Katsyarina wrote about a year ago with the line “if I could shake the sky” in it. That line has stuck with me. Thanks, lovely poetess. This post is for you and all who need a little magic or joy in their lives.

 

banishtheblues

Al Lane has challenged us to post something light, funny, happy, or joyous. Why?

“To help us all get through the dismal dirtsack we lovingly call January, I’ve started a #banishtheblues hashtag. I’d love it if you joined me! Just write, or draw, or photograph…anything to #banishtheblues!”