Rough writers tour around the world

Jump on board the Congress of Rough Writers Round the World Tour

Do you remember the moment you fell in love–the moment the passion ignited, and you knew life would never be the same again?

I remember the moment my love affair with flash fiction began. Like many love affairs, it took me by surprise, lifting me up with its power to seduce, challenge and excite in a whirlpool of emotions.

That moment occurred exactly four years and one week ago when, on 12 March 2014, I published my response to the first flash fiction prompt posted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Charli challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write the aftermath of an avalanche of any kind from any perspective.

Flash fiction was new to me. I’d written short stories, children stories, poetry, songs, and educational books and resources, but never flash fiction. However, I do love a challenge and had been anticipating having a go at flash fiction after Charli’s announcement a few months prior.

This is my response, my first ever attempt at flash fiction:

Avalanche

The trickle began; imperceptible, unheeded and ignored.

Needing more attention, the volume swelled and quickened pace.

Still no attention was forthcoming so the surge became more urgent and incessant in its plea.

“Slow down! Stop me!”

To no avail.

The avalanche engulfed her.

Heat flashed through her body, from feet straight to her head.

Heart pounding loudly, “Let me out of here!” it pled.

With reverberations magnified in each and every cell,

the heady swirl became too much –

she trembling choked. “I’m dying?”

But no:

B-r-e-a-t-h-e   s-l-o-w.

B-r-e-a-t-h-e   d-e-e-p.

R-e-l-a-x.

S-o-o-t-h-e.

B-r-e-a-t-h-e . . .

The panic abates.

I was just one of five to respond to that first prompt. Four of those writers, including me of course, are still regular visitors to the Carrot Ranch, are members of the Congress of Rough Writers, and are contributors to the Congress of Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology Vol 1. That’s pretty awesome, I think.

Carrot Ranch Anthology with 5 star review

Watch the trailer here:

Over the years, the number of Congress members has grown to thirty-two and the number of participants in the Flash Fiction challenges swells to more than fifty some weeks.

from little things big things grow

What an amazing achievement: from small things, big things grow. Charli’s vision has not wavered from the outset. She held to her path through all manner of life’s storms. Battered but not beaten, she persisted when lesser mortals would have caved. She continues to welcome, encourage and support all writers with her vision to make literary arts accessible to all. With the publication of this anthology, a digital compilation of entries in the inaugural Flash Fiction Rodeo now in production, and Anthology Vol 2 in the pipeline, she shows what is possible through vision, determination and growth mindset.

During the four years I have been participating in Charli’s challenges, I have learned a lot, not only about writing, but about life. The warmth and encouragement of the community of writers that have gathered around Charli is uplifting. The synergy and combined effect of all our stories, written and shared in a safe environment, raises us up together to walk on each other’s shoulders.

In 2015, I wrote this about what I had learned from writing flash fiction. The learning continues with my own “yet’ mindset.

Carrot Ranch anthology a brilliant idea

About the Anthology

Thirty writers began with 99 words and forged literary feats. Vol. 1 explores the literary art of flash fiction, beginning with the earliest compilations at Carrot Ranch and later pieces based on a new flash fiction prompt. This is not your typical anthology. It continues with longer stories extended from the original 99-word format and essays on how flash fiction supports memoir writing. Based on the experiences at Carrot Ranch, the concluding section of Vol. 1 offers tips to other groups interested in using the flash fiction format to build a literary community.

Charli Mills, Series Editor, Publisher & Lead Buckaroo
Sarah Brentyn, Editor & Contributor

The Congress of the Rough Writers (contributors):

Anthony Amore, Rhode Island, USA; Georgia Bell, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Sacha Black, England, UK; Sarah Brentyn, USA; Norah Colvin, Brisbane, Qld, AU; Pete Fanning, Virginia, USA; C. Jai Ferry, Midwest, USA; Rebecca Glaessner, Melbourne, Vic, AU; Anne Goodwin, England, UK; Luccia Gray, Spain; Urszula Humienik, Poland; Ruchira Khanna, California, USA; Larry LaForge, Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Geoff Le Pard, Dulwich South London, UK; Jeanne Belisle Lombardo, Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Sherri Matthews, Somerset, UK; Allison Mills, Houghton, Michigan, USA; Charli Mills, Hancock, Michigan, USA; Paula Moyer, Lauderdale, Minnesota, USA; JulesPaige, Pennsylvania, USA; Amber Prince, North Texas, USA; Lisa Reiter, UK; Ann Edall-Robson, Airdrie, Alberta, Canada; Christina Rose, Oregon, USA; Roger Shipp, Virginia, USA; Kate Spencer, British Columbia, Canada; Sarah Unsicker, St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Irene Waters, Noosaville, Qld, AU; Sarrah J. Woods, Charleston, West Virginia, USA; Susan Zutautas, Orillia, Ontario, Canada.

From the back cover:

Witness great feats of literary art from daring writers around the world: stories crafted in 99 words.

Flash fiction is a literary prompt, form, and tool that unites writers in wordplay. This creative craft hones a writer’s skills to write tight stories and explore longer works. It’s literary art in thoughtful bites, and the collective stories in this anthology provide an entertaining read for busy modern readers.

Writers approach the prompts for their 99-word flash with creative diversity. Each of the twelve chapters in Part One features quick, thought-provoking flash fiction. Later sections include responses to a new flash fiction prompt, extended stories from the original 99-word format, and essays from memoir writers working in flash fiction. A final section includes tips on how to use flash fiction in classrooms, book clubs, and writers groups.

CarrotRanch.com is an online literary community where writers can practice craft the way musicians jam. Vol. 1 includes the earliest writings by these global literary artists at Carrot Ranch. Just as Buffalo Bill Cody once showcased the world’s most daring riding, this anthology highlights the best literary feats from The Congress of Rough Writers.

The Congress of Rough Writers Anthology Vol 1

In case you haven’t got yours yet, here’s where to purchase

The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 is available through distribution in 17 countries worldwide. Buy direct from our Print on Demand distributor at Book Baby.

Preferred Seller:

The-Congress-of-Rough-Writers

Also available from:

Amazon Global Digital
Amazon Global Print

Be sure to check out other stops on the Congress of Rough Writers Tour Around the World.

We have already visited

Sherri Matthews UK

Luccia Gray in Spain

Sacha Black in the UK

Ann Edall-Robson in Canada

Anne Goodwin in the UK

Geoff Le Pard in the UK

Next week we will visit Irene Waters, another Australian. (You’ve travelled so far, we want you to make the most of your journey!)

The tour continues through April and into May. Be sure to not miss a stop along the way.

 

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

76 thoughts on “Jump on board the Congress of Rough Writers Round the World Tour

  1. Sarah Brentyn

    Ah, Norah. What a lovely stop on the RW World Tour! Apologies for being so late to the party but I’m glad to be here at last. And, may I say, your section in the anthology about writing flash in groups (communities) is wonderful!

    I love your flash and this very first one is a fantastic piece. I am so happy to have met you and have flashed with you for so long. 😉 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Sarah. Your friendship has played a big part in my determination to work at improving my flash fiction and writing in general. You are masterful at telling a whole lot of story in just a few words. Your collections of bite-sized stories are wonderfully enjoyable and provide a standard to which other writers can aspire. I highly recommend them to all as excellent reading.

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  2. Pingback: Rough Writers World Tour #Flash Fiction Anthology. How to Make Every Word Count #TuesdayBookBlog   | Rereading Jane Eyre

    1. Norah Post author

      You’re doing an excellent job of representing it too, Robbie. Good on you for holding the fort, so to speak. I’d love to know what you think of the anthology once it’s read. Thank you for purchasing and supporting the team. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Colleen Chesebro

    Norah, I’m so pleased to be part of this amazing literary community. Like you, I instantly felt a connection to flash fiction, much the same way I love measured poetry forms. The brevity makes your words count and its a thrill to know when you get it right. Bravo for an excellent commentary. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Tina Frisco

    What an incredible achievement, Norah, for all of you. Our blogging community is so supportive and creative. Many of us may never meet in person, but the bond of friendship is nonetheless heartfelt and strong. We share and rejoice in each other’s accomplishments, as we undertake this marvelous journey together. It doesn’t get any better than that. Congratulations! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Tina. Our blogging community is amazing. How wonderful that people from all “corners” of the world can come together and support and encourage each other. It would be difficult to find such a rich community in person. I totally agree with this: “We share and rejoice in each other’s accomplishments, as we undertake this marvelous journey together. It doesn’t get any better than that.” Thank you, we do it together.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. Jules

    It has been a complete joy to be able to met folks from all over as we gather at Carrot Ranch.
    May we always question so we can learn. May we always be individuals as well as part of the amazing whole!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  6. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    I will be reading the anthology soon. Looking forward to it so much. Flash Fiction is a delight to write. I’m glad I discovered it too. Must join in more with the prompts. Sadly my time has not been my own of late, hope to have more chance to indulge in all of my writing passions including flas. Working fulltime makes life so very busy!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Marje, Thank you for reading and commenting. It’s great to join in with the prompts when you can. I try to most weeks, but it can be difficult when time is not your own to be master of. I wish for you all the writing time you desire.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  7. Shallow Reflections

    Just started to participate in the Carrot Ranch flash fiction weekly challenge and I love it! It am hooked. How wonderful you were among the first five to respond to the first prompt, Norah. I am reading the anthology and love it. Great response to ‘avalanche.’ – Molly

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Molly, I’m so pleased you’ve joined us at the Ranch. Everyone is welcome, and everyone brings their own perspective. There’s a writing spot for anyone who wants to pull up a stump and chat a while. I’ve been enjoying your stories and look forward to reading more.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  8. Sherri Matthews

    Hello Norah, I made it!! A bit jet lagged, but I’m here! I jumped on board the train of your wonderful post and feel like I’ve just whooshed through a time warp of the past four years to watch that acorn grown into the magnificent oak tree it is today. Flash backs to all the flashes we’ve shared, the conversations, debates, laughter, support, encouragement, fun, tears and always, real friendship. I love your first flash and your reminder of how far we’ve all come at Carrot Ranch. I’ve made new friends along the way and kept a few ‘old’, and some I’ve lost when I haven’t been able to visit their blogs as much as I would like, but thanks to Charli and you and your ‘Fabulous Five’, the rest of us have a literary home that never turns its back. We’ve all come a long way baby…so glad I met you here Norah, and next time you visit England, you better look me up! SMAG Rules! 🙂 ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for jumping on board, Sherri. What fun we have sharing this journey together. I remember those first conversations we had, oh so long ago – so much we’ve been through together since then. I remember when we first contemplated SMAG and I went ahead, with your encouragement, to get the badge made and declare it “a thing”. It’s still a thing – Society of Mutual Appreciation and Gratitude – even if we don’t speak about it as often, it’s there, it’s tangible, it’s real. It’s our support and lifeline, and we hold onto it tightly here at the Ranch. So good to ride with you, my friend. We’ve still got miles ahead to share on this journey. Giddy-up!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Sherri Matthews

        And the Summerhouse wears your beautiful SMAG badge so very proudly Norah, it’s message timeless and treasured. It is definitely a ‘thing’ and yes, it seems like only yesterday when we were talking about it! Wow…so much has happened over the years and here we all are, ‘holding tightly at the Ranch’. I just commented on Susan’s guest post at the Ranch, loving how she conveyed the vital importance of the support we need and rely upon as writers, bloggers and friends. And I am so thankful for you my friend. Charli sent up the balloon, you reached up and look at us all now…and this is just the beginning! Let’s ride!! 😀 ❤ 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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        1. Norah Post author

          I have this image of us all holding on tightly as we clasp the balloon strings and float on high. I’m thinking there might be a Winnie the Pooh image like that. 🙂
          Susan wrote a wonderful guest post. In fact, we belong to a group of pretty amazing people. I don’t think I’ve read a bad one yet. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
          1. Sherri Matthews

            Love that image Norah, and I’m sure I’ve seen that Winnie the Pooh picture, it does exist! And yes, I am truly honoured to belong to such a talented and wonderful group…and such a fantastic way to get to know one another better through the guest posts and book tour 🙂 ❤

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
  9. Juliet

    Hi Norah,
    A great piece on your ride through Charli’s Ranch and the anthology. I love what you say about how writing our stories ‘raises us up together to walk on each other’s shoulders’. I’m so pleased and proud to be a new part of this astonishing community, walking on many strong and inspiring shoulders. The view from up here is great! Thanks for the lift.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Juliet. It is lovely to have you join us. Each member enriches the community in their own unique way. The diversity is as amazing as the strength we feel in sharing the writing journey.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  10. Pingback: Jump on board the Congress of Rough Writers Round the World Tour « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  11. Charli Mills

    It just occurred to me that from silent snows, one flake at a time grows a powerful avalanche. I’m glad to share the wild, tumbling ride it has been to follow our passions and share our discoveries along the way. Thank you for teaching me about a growth mindset which has helped me stay on the path. Flash fiction is a love bug that’s bitten us, and you describe its worthy attributes in your linked flash. Thanks for the tour! We’ll rest at your place before heading (up?) the coast to Irene’s.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      What a lovely image beginning with the silent snow. Once there was one, then there were many.
      Growth mindset is important. It keeps me going too. I’ve still got a whole lot of growing to do. Thank you for all your encouragement and support along the way. Who know what (figurative) gutter I’d be in now if it wasn’t for you.
      We sure did get infected by that flash fiction bug. It’s the best way to be infected – no harmful effects, unless you call crazy bouts of excitement, creativity and imagination harmful.
      Yep, Irene’s up the coast a short spell. Not far to go this time.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
              1. dgkaye

                Wow! Thanks so much Norah – especially after you told me how you feel about writing reviews, lol. No! I haven’t seen it yet? I’m thrilled! I will look for it. On Amazon.com? And I will gladly share it with a ‘new reviews’ post when I return. ❤ Thanks a bunch Norah. xx

                Liked by 1 person

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                1. Norah Post author

                  I hope you are thrilled when you see it! 🙂 I’m not sure where. It was Amazon. Some books I had purchased popped up and requested reviews so I took a deep breath and jumped in. I hope you find it – and like it. 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

                  Reply
                  1. dgkaye

                    Ohhh, if it popped up, I’m sure it was on your own Amazon.au. Could I ask you a huge favor without putting you out? Would you mind going to that book page on your Amazon and copy your review and paste it on the book’s page on .com? So appreciated!!!!!! ❤

                    Liked by 1 person

                    Reply
                    1. dgkaye

                      Yes I did! And I’ve copied it over to my book’s review page on my blog and saved it in draft to share in a post when I return – probably my Sunday Book Review in the week I return. ❤

                      Liked by 1 person

  12. LucciaGray

    Great first flash, Norah. I felt panicked! What a long and eventful journey in just four years.
    I also started in 2014, in an attempt to improve my wordy writing style. I think it’s worked. I’m much more conscious of the role of each single word I write now.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much, Luccia. It’s been great to share the journey with you too. I have enjoyed learning about Jane Austen’s stories through yours. I am aware of all those extra words too, but I don’t always cut enough. I wonder where the next four years will take us. 🙂

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  13. TanGental

    Ah so be it. That crushing glory that is falling in love. Overwhelming and pulse pounding. Thank you Norah for you found Charli and Anne found you and I Anne and so a chain of first loves took hold. A domino of desire… Hmmm too flowery perhaps?

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Maybe a little flowery, Geoff, but I like it. Yep, we’ve all been in there since the beginning when we were starting off trying to figure out this blogging thing. I remember back to when we met up in London and Anne shared her pre-announcement with us that she had a publisher for her first book. Look at what’s been published between us since then – and it’s only four years. Woohoo!

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Anne. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. And I’m also glad that you came along with me for the ride. It is a pleasure riding and writing in such good company. I hadn’t thought about the appropriateness of avalanche as a starting place before. I guess it’s been getting bigger and bigger and rolling faster and faster and I’m trying desperately to keep up. (Picture those arms and legs flailing out of a cartoon snowball. :))

      Liked by 2 people

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