Challenge Accepted: Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – Rock Star

Last week, a fellow blogger and educator, Norah Colvin, commented on a post I had written about the “spotlight effect“, suggesting that “a story based on this would be perfect for the ‘rock star’ prompt at the Flash Fiction Challenge at  Carrot Ranch this week.”

I wasn’t familiar with Flash Fiction or Carrot Ranch, but I always like a good challenge, so I thought I’d take a look and see what it is all about.

Here is how Norah has defined flash fiction:

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.”

As a writing prompt, flash fiction gives the brain a problem to be solved: Write a story in 99 words, no more, no less. When writers repeat the challenge regularly, flash fiction trains brains to resolve the 99-word problem. It’s like magic; but really it’s science (from the book Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More Than Your Imagined by Scott Sonenshein). Creativity opens when the writing prompt becomes a habit.

And as to Carrot Ranch, here’s a blurb from its web site: Carrot Ranch is a dynamic online literary community for those practicing craft, reading stories and discussing process. Charli Mills is the lead buckaroo who hosts challenges, guest blogs, and an annual multi-contest called the Flash Fiction Rodeo.

So, similar to the six-word stories I’ve written about before, I thought it would be something fun and educational to try.

So here it is, my 99-word story based on the prompt “rock star”:


Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.
Just because you’re not a rock star, it doesn’t mean that people aren’t paying attention to you.
Just because some psychologist came up with the idea of the spotlight effect, it doesn’t mean that people aren’t watching everything you do.

Because you are a dad.
In their eyes, you are a rock star.
And they are watching everything you do,
And hanging on every word you say.
And you will always be in the spotlight.

Because you are a dad.

And that’s better than being a rock star.


image from zazzle

25 thoughts on “Challenge Accepted: Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – Rock Star

  1. Well written.

    I often write short stories, and have only realized that the really short stories that I write are not technically classified as such, but instead is called “flash fiction”. I think I’ll go check out this carrot ranch.

    Rock star dad, indeed!

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  3. Great job, Jim, nicely done. Carrot Ranch people (word wranglers?) are welcoming and willing to help. It is a great community as I have found in my short tenure there (about 6 months or so). Sometimes mine are wholly fictional, but sometimes, not, but they don’t care. Enjoy your time there and I will be watching for your stories. ~nan

    1. Thank you for the welcoming words, Nan. And I have found your words to be true in just the few days I have been part of Carrot Ranch. I’ve received many words of welcome and positive feedback. I am looking forward to reading what you post as well.

  4. It makes my day when the educators hop on board the literary train because educators inform and create. Thanks for sharing your story and information about flash fiction. Great flash filled with the importance of being a dad.

    1. For the past few years, I have required all of my students to create a blog post for one of their assignments. For most students, that is the end of their blogging. But one student enjoyed it so much he has become a daily blogger, and hasn’t missed a day in nearly two years. Thanks for the kind words about my flash!

  5. I’m so pleased you took up the challenge, Jim. You have written a great response. I think everyone’s Dad should be a rock star to them. Being a dad is such a awesome responsibility. Anyone who rises to the challenge adds more value to lives than any rock star. (I’m sorry I’m late to respond but am pleased to have made it eventually.)

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