Tag Archives: contests

The Sound and the Fury flash fiction contest #5

Rodeo #5: Sound and Fury Winners

The results of the Carrot Ranch Rodeo Contest #5 The Sound and the Fury have been announced. What fabulous stories. Ride on over to the Ranch to read the winners, the Honourable Mentions and all the entries. Great writing everyone!

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By D. Avery

Sometimes fear, respect, and awe are the braids of one rope. Sometimes that one rope is all a buckaroo has to hang onto. Your flash should never let go of that rope.

That was my lead-in to the prompt for the final rodeo contest, the Sound and Fury. I wanted contestants to write about a dangerous situation that people willingly engage in.

I have learned so much here at the Ranch even since penning such tough talk over a month ago. The prompt was to write of danger and risk, but for many just sharing one’s writing is a risk, and to compete is an even greater risk. To be willing to face a fear, to do what is not easy to do, engenders learning and growth; it is an act of creative courage.

Creative courage is what Carrot Ranch is about. The rope here is a…

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Fractured Fairy Tales Contest for the Carrot Ranch Rodeo

Once Upon a Rodeo Time

As promised, here’s some information to start your thinking in preparation for the fractured fairy tale flash fiction contest in the Carrot Ranch Rodeo next month. (Try saying that five times real fast!)

Please note: The correct date is Oct 24, not Oct 17 as shown below.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

From the remote reaches of northern Idaho, the Carrot Ranch Weekly Challenges launched in March of 2014. From around the world, Norah Colvin accepted the first challenge from Australia. She’s held a special place at the Ranch ever since.

Norah cultivates the kind of growth mindset that marks a life-long learner. But she’s also a teacher. Norah frames her entries in posts that focus on education, giving her readers new points of learning or discussion. Last year she launched readilearn (a sponsor of the 2018 Flash Fiction Rodeo, so be sure to check out the site).

You can always expect to learn something new from Norah, and her Rodeo Contests is no exception.


Rodeo #4 Fractured Fairy Tales
By Norah Colvin

Do you love fairy tales? Chances are, unless you are a parent or grandparent of young children or an early childhood educator as I am, you may not…

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Flash Fiction Rodeo #6

Another contest in the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo. This time it’s a lot of bull. Are you in?

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Bucking Bull Go-Round

By D. Avery

Luck of the Draw, Resilience of the Rider

Bull riders are “today’s gladiators,” willing to risk injury and death for their ride to fame. Can you imagine straddling an angry, snorting 1800-pound animal that wants nothing more than to shake you off and perhaps gore and trample you, too? What must it be like to prepare for that, to face down fear as you approach the chute and settle atop this beast that you will dance with in the arena? What are people’s motivations to confront such a challenge, to set upon it and not only hang on for dear life, but to ride it with as much grace and finesse as possible, showing courage and skill in equal measure? Carrot Ranch’s Bucking Bull Go-Round event is a flash fiction approximation of rodeo’s most dangerous event, bull riding.

At the Professional Bull Riders’ (PBR)…

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Get Ready to Rodeo!

Come, join in the Flash Fiction writing rodeo. Eight different challenges, eight prizes, tons of fun! Starts next week at the Carrot Ranch.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Norah Colvin writes in the upcoming The Congress of Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology, Vol. 1:

“Flash fiction is a form of short writing. In its various forms, it may be known as, for example, micro fiction, sudden fiction, or six-word stories; the length may vary from as few as six to as many as 1,000 words. Brevity is a constraint, and writers attempt to pack as much story as they can into few words. Each word must count. There is no room for ‘darlings’, let alone a need for them to be killed.”

Carrot Ranch is hosting a Flash Fiction Rodeo with eight different contests throughout the month of October. It’s free and includes first place prizes in each category of $25. The best of all eight winning entries will be dubbed the All-Around Best Writer of 2017 Flash Fiction Rodeo and win an extra $50. You can enter…

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Making choices

In my most recent post I discussed my goals and the steps I was taking towards, and away from achieving them. Writing that post, and receiving your wonderful comments, advice and suggestions, provided me the opportunity of really assessing how I spend my time and of deciding where to from here; at least until I meet the next juncture anyway.

My most important realisation is that

I love the writing community that welcomed me so warmly and of which I feel very much a part:

  • The friendship and sharing
  • The open communication and exchange of ideas
  • The feedback and encouragement
  • The writing practice
  • The opportunity to be doing something with my time – it does a good job of keeping me off the streets!

The impact that being a part of this community may have on my ability to reach other goals may never be known. But for now it meets other needs in many wonderful ways that I am not prepared to forgo just yet. I may need to reassess the content of my posts in view of my writerly, as opposed to teacherly, audience; but since you have all accepted and responded so well to them thus far, maybe not. I can’t think what else I know about anyway!

However, I must prioritise my other work as well.

To do this I have refined my record of comments:

  • to include the twenty bloggers I engage with most frequently (reduced from the approximately thirty I showed on the infographics in that previous post, and seventy plus I had in the table when I began the record!)
  • by arranging the bloggers alphabetically to make them easier to locate and record
  • to match the Monday to Sunday week used in WordPress stats (I was using Sunday to Saturday previously)

While I have not unfollowed any bloggers, I have requested to not be notified of new posts of bloggers who have not engaged with me. This will reduce the number of emails I receive and therefore the time taken in dealing with the burgeoning inbox. I won’t be distracted by their content; and, if I have any spare time, I can always check out their posts in my reader.

Reducing the number of emails I receive each day is one of the things I am looking most forward to! It has always been a bugbear.

I have also decided that I will not actively seek new blogs to follow at this stage but will continue to maintain existing relationships. However if someone new engages with me, I will be more than happy to respond.

These changes should help me devote more time to other projects.

I have already written a lot of teaching resources. Unfortunately I am no more of an artist than I am a singer and, since my resources are mainly for use in early childhood settings, most of them need to be illustrated. My niece has illustrated some for me but she has her own life and busy work schedule as well so I need to look further afield.

Last week I decided to take action.

I signed up to 99 designs and ran a contest to see if it was possible to get some illustrations for one of my stories. It has been a steep learning curve and very interesting; even a bit harrowing at times. Many artists submitted work in the contest and I have narrowed it down to four finalists. I am running a poll to get some advice on the illustrations. I’d appreciate your thoughts if you have time to check it out.

monsterbraingames, golden trophy with glaze (remix)  https://openclipart.org/detail/202115/golden-trophy-with-glaze-remix

monsterbraingames, golden trophy with glaze (remix) https://openclipart.org/detail/202115/golden-trophy-with-glaze-remix

I feel a bit uncomfortable with all the work the artists have done, in the hope of winning the contest (these are 99designs’ terms), but it seems to be the way it is done so I guess they are aware of and expect it. I am already looking towards future contests and getting more work illustrated. I may also look at other options, so if you have other suggestions I’d be pleased to hear them.

I’ve been trying to think of a segue from there into my flash fiction response to the challenge set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch this week. Charli’s prompt is to In 99 words (no more, no less) include a juxtaposition between the ordinary and natural worlds. Now that I look at it again, I’m not so sure my response quite fits, so perhaps that is fitting in itself. It seemed like a good idea at the time: matching the turquoise stone to the colour of Marnie’s eyes, which I didn’t even include!

turquoie necklace

Here it is anyway, the next little revelation of Marnie’s story that continues on from this one:


She paused her dusting, as often she did, scanning the fading faces. Her gaze lingered, as always, on one. She gave it an extra rub as if to wipe away a tear, erase the pain.

She lifted the postcard wedged into the frame to read the words she knew so well but wished had more to tell: “Thank you, Miss. Remember me.”

“Where are you? How are you doing?” she’d never stopped wondering, hoping.

She fingered the smoothness of the turquoise stone, its partner given long ago . . .

A quiet knock on the door interrupted her thoughts.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post or flash fiction.