Tag Archives: story

Playing to Win #Valentiny Contest Entry

Playing to Win #Valentiny Contest Entry

I have regularly joined in responding to the 99-word flash fiction prompts at the Carrot Ranch for almost seven years. Today, I am joining in something a little different — a Valentiny Contest run by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill. Although this is the sixth Valentiny Contest, this is the first I have entered.

The contest asks writers to write Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels brave! The maximum story length is to be 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day), but it can be less. For more details and to read other entries, pop over to Susanna’s blog. Entries must be posted by Sunday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT. (Words in italics are from Susanna’s post.)

My story is not specifically to do with Valentines’ Day, but I was pleased to find that the name Valentina means brave. Fergal also means brave. I have been brave to have a go. The word count of my story is 214 words exactly. I hope you enjoy it.

Playing to Win

On one side of the arena, Prince Fergal raised his sword. “I am the bravest of the brave, the strongest of the strong. No one can defeat me.”

On the opposite side, Princess Valentina raised her sword. “I am the bravest of the brave, the strongest of the strong. No one can defeat me. I challenge you to a duel.”

“I am Fearless Fergal!”

“I am Valiant Valentina!”

“Charge!”

The riders kicked their hobby horses into action. Across the arena they galloped, swords drawn, ready for mortal combat.

As they neared the centre of the arena, Fearless Fergal’s horse stumbled, flinging him to the ground.

“Ouch!” he cried, clasping an elbow.

The spectators held their breath. What would Valentina do? Would she drive her sword home and declare herself the victor? Would she insist that Fergal be her faithful follower forever more? Was there any way Fergal could claim victory?

Fergal didn’t look so fearless clutching his arm and rocking from side to side.

Valentina released her sword and leapt from her steed. She knelt beside him.

“Are you okay, Fergal?” she asked.

The spectators swarmed.

Fergal nodded. “It’s just a little graze.”

“Shall we go again?” Valentina asked.

“Another day. Let’s play something else now.”

The contest done. The crowd dispersed. Friendship won.

Thank you blog post

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

flash fiction Riding the Zipline Down Under

Riding the Zipline Down Under #flashfiction

I’m not known for being adventurous. I don’t like heights or enclosed spaces or cars that speed. I’m not sure where my fears originated but they generally don’t bother me too much as they have little effect on my everyday life. I don’t have to clean windows on high-rise buildings, and I don’t operate the lifts inside them. I generally take the stairs if going only one or two floors, always checking the door will open again before closing it behind me. I can manage travelling in a lift, especially if there are few other occupants and it goes directly to my floor, but I am always relieved when it arrives and the doors open to release me.

I have never and will never ride a roller coaster or bungy jump; and haven’t as yet and probably won’t, travel on one of those ‘Eyes of’ the world. I don’t feel I am missing out by not doing most of these things. I think life is exciting enough without them.

That’s not to say I haven’t ever done anything I found terrifying. When I visited the Great Wall of China outside Beijing, I had to take a chairlift up to the top. My heart was racing, and my palms were sweaty, but I did it. Then I had to take a flume ride down to the bottom. If pressured, I might say it was even a little bit fun, but I wouldn’t choose to do it again, unless I had no choice as in this instance.

Probably the one thing I think I would love to do, if I was brave enough, is hot air ballooning. I think the sensation of floating up there in the air, looking down on the world, would be amazing. But it could also be terrifying. If I could get on without being overcome by anxiety and knew I could come down when I wanted, I’d probably do it; but I think that’s for another life.

Surprisingly, perhaps, I love being in a plane and looking down at the earth below. One would think a fear of heights and claustrophobia would prevent this. I can’t explain why it doesn’t. I love the moment of lift off, of being taken up into the air. I always thought it would be great to be a bird flying above the earth, looking down. It is a beautiful view. Perhaps that’s why Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is one of my favourite books.

Anyway, because of my reluctance to do some of these adventurous things like jump out of a plane, go zorbing or ride a zipline, people close to me often joke that they will do them if I will, knowing full well that I won’t, and they won’t have to admit their own reluctance.

So, I was amused this week by a conversation with friend and fellow writer D. Avery on her post Zip: SixSentenceStory. (Please pop over to read it.)

In D.’s story, her young character Marlie made a zipline from the top of the fort for her doll. I was picturing a playground flying fox which I think I would have enjoyed as a child, had they been invented then, and commented that ziplines are fun. (My grandchildren love flying foxes.) D. replied, ‘… let’s agree to disagree on the fun-ness of zip lines. Tell you what, Buddy, you go first.’ Well, that sounded like a challenge to me and I told her that we could maybe go together in a next life or in a story. And so, the story was born, with a little help from Charli Mills.

At the Carrot Ranch this week, Charli challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about dressing up. It can be a child or another character. Be playful or go where the prompt leads!

Perhaps it is a stretch to go from dressing up to a zipline, but we’d have to dress differently from our everyday, wear a harness, and harness a persona we wouldn’t normally wear, so I hope the stretch isn’t too far. After all, it is pure play through story and from USA to Australia is only halfway around the world. Charli always says to go where the prompt leads …

I hope you (especially you, D.) enjoy it.

Riding the Zipline Down Under

Many hid behind Norah’s fear of heights, speed and enclosed spaces. “I’ll do anything Norah does,” they’d boast, feigning bravery. D. said she’d ride the zipline from its start, high up in the US, all the way Down Under, if Norah did.

Dressed for warmth and to prevent chafing, they adjusted their harnesses. “You first,” said D., still not believing Norah would do it.

“Whee! I’m flying; flying without wings,” sang Norah, zooming across the landscape.

“I’m dying,” screamed D., squeezing her eyes shut.

“We’re here,” said Norah. “Welcome to Australia.”

“That was amazing,” said D. “I did it!”

Thank you blog post

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

Carrot Ranch Rodeo contest #3

Rodeo #3: Three-Act Story

The third Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenge is up. Write a three-act story in 99 words. What fun. And a great prize to boot!

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

What is a story? We all tell them, and as writers, we craft them in the written word. A story is about Something that happens to Someone, Somewhere. It’s plot, character, and setting. A story has a beginning, middle, and end. Because we are hardwired for stories, we retain data better from narrative. Storytelling is in my blood.

When I was a kid, my mother ran a general mercantile in a town of 99 people. One of those 99 was Eloise Fairbanks, a one-eyed shut-in born in 1908. Her father operated the water mill, and when she was a young woman, she rode the backcountry of the Sierra Nevadas as a telegraph lineman. Weezy, as she was called, would call the store and order a six-pack of Coors. My job was to pedal the brown bag over to her house. She’d holler for me to come in when I knocked…

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more than just lines on a page

More than just lines on a page

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) use a line in your story. You can think of the variation of the word meaning, or you can think of visual references. Go where the prompt leads.

As an educator of young children, with a special interest in literacy development, I shouldn’t have needed to think for long. Although, there being so many possible ways of interpreting the prompt, I did. I finally decided on the lines that we as writers and artists make on the page, the meaning we assign to them, and the meaning others extract from them.

Children begin their journey into literacy by assigning meaning to marks they make upon the page and by realising that marks made by others also carry meaning. As their ability to both express and decipher develops, they come to realise that a text or image is more than the sum of the individual lines of which it consists. Communication deepens by interpreting and understanding the meaning conveyed below and between the marks.

The ability to both imply and infer meaning extends to the interpretation of facial expressions, body language and changes in the environment. We can accept what we see at face value or make a judgement about what may be implied or intended. While the messages are often considered obvious, misinterpretation is possible.

In response to Charli’s prompt, I’ve played with interpreting other lines. I hope you like it.

Reading between the lines - signs in the sand www.NorahColvin.com

Reading between the lines

Four lines of footprints stretched along the shore. A line, mostly unbroken, edged one side; the other, a sequence of dots. The smaller prints danced lightly. The larger dragged heavily with one foot sideways. Criss-crosses of triple-pronged seagulls’ prints failed to obscure, unlike the smudge of ocean’s wet kisses. Tiny crabs scuttled their own story tracks through weeds, shells and stones coughed up by the sea. Beyond a collapsed castle, the footprints continued. In the distance—rocks. So far?  He accelerated. Didn’t they know the tide had turned?  Caught in the moment, they’d missed the signs. Lucky he didn’t.

Thank you blog post

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