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: 🙂
Where you can write some flash: 🙂