Stop 7: Noosaville Australia: Congress of Rough Writers Round the World Tour: A Book Review with a Difference


May 21st 2014 I wrote my first flash in Charli’s 99 word flash fiction prompt. Little did I know that Charli’s vision of a site that would make literary arts available to all would see me join the ranks of the Congress of Rough Writers, participating in a writing rodeo both as contestant and leader of one of the competitions and writing a monthly post on memoir. The biggest achievement has been the publishing of  Anthology 1, but more about that in a minute.

I had found Charli’s site via a Bite Size Memoir prompt  and found that as a memoir writer, writing fiction didn’t come easily, at first. Indeed, this very first flash was a BOTS, that is it was based on a true story that occurred when my father had gone to Sydney to teach for 3 months and my mother, brother and I were left in our house in the country, alone. One of the initial problems I faced was naming my characters. They remained she and he until I realised that here was a freedom not afforded by memoir (where the people in the memoir came with their own given name.) Fiction allowed you choose names that added an additional layer to the story.

Working to a prompt, fiction allowed me to write history, humour, fantasy, romance, murder, science fiction and to make a statement. Some were obvious such as What direction?  and Our cousins, others were perhaps too obscure. That is okay. I learnt that we read from our own world view and as there were writers participating from all over the world we each had a different perspective. Our language nuances were slightly different. It taught me if you are going to write for a world audience that you have to understand these language subtetlies to ensure that most readers will get or feel what you are trying to impart. In all these weekly 99 word flash fiction prompts have been a great learning tool to enhance my writing, whether it be memoir, BOTS or fiction.

Reading the other responses to the prompt is a joy. It is hard to believe that the same prompt could generate so many different responses . In Section one of the anthology some of these prompts and the very different ways thirty writers have dealt with the subject are showcased. In section two some of these stories are expanded into longer stories and in the third section there are essays from memoirists telling how flash fiction supports memoir writing. The concluding section of Vol. 1 offers tips to other groups that are 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.


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

Preferred Seller:


Also available from:

Amazon Global Digital
Amazon Global Print

For US Libraries

Baker & Taylor

We’ve already stopped off at these Rough Writers, hearing how they came to flash fiction

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

and there are more to come.

This is only the beginning. Carrot Ranch has expanded, now with over thirty Rough Writers, many more participants each week and regular readers and the compilation of an ebook from the rodeo, Anthology Vol 2 and another Rodeo in the pipeline Carrot Ranch is a vibrant , welcoming place for writers and readers alike. Charli’s vision of an inclusive community has come to reality. You are welcome to come for a visit – but beware – you may end up staying awhile.

So would I recommend this book – Yes I would. I am immensely proud to be included in both Sections 1 and 3. I learnt from my university studies that it is important to publish in places that will not harm your future life as a writer i.e. reputable journals, anthologies and books. I say I am proud to be published in this anthology as I believe it has been professionally crafted. You don’t have to take my word for that however, because you know I have possibly a biased eye. Instead read Charles Remmington’s review and make up your own mind…

Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers’ Favorite

The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 from the writing community of the Carrot Ranch. Edited by Charli Mills and Sarah Brentyn, it includes a broad sample of the group’s output of short stories, which are limited to 99 words ‘no more no less’. Participating authors are invited each week to write a 99-word story on a given subject, and some of the results have now been published in this volume, arranged in 12 chapters, each containing ten stories.

The subject matter ranges from ‘write a story about water’ to ‘history near or far’ or ‘a story which includes an angel’. The result is a strangely compelling, very enjoyable experience where these little vignettes transport you quickly from scene to scene in a dizzying array of place, colour, texture and emotion. The book also contains further chapters where authors have been invited to expand their Flash Fiction into slightly longer stories, how Flash Fiction can assist with various writing processes including memoirs, and how the Flash Fiction group was created, along with advice on creating one yourself. A fascinating book packed with bright ideas and worthwhile material. I was greatly entertained by the stories and essays and so taken with the idea that I thought I would give it a go with a 99-word review.

Stories of ninety-nine words, no more, no less, little gems from the Rough Writers of the Carrot Ranch. Like wild flowers in an early morning meadow glistening with dew and I, a butterfly or bee, flitting from bloom to bloom, immersing myself in a kaleidoscope of experiences which pass through my mind like an ever-changing dreamscape. Stories of love and loss, victory and defeat, struggle and gain from the pens of talented authors with backgrounds as diverse as their stories. A brilliant idea that has created an astounding anthology, one that you will return to time and again.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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57 Responses to Stop 7: Noosaville Australia: Congress of Rough Writers Round the World Tour: A Book Review with a Difference

  1. I understand just how you feel, Irene. When I read all the different responses to a prompt I can’t believe the imagination displayed. I also write what you call BOTS most of the time [not always though].

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Since I’m new at the Ranch, your post explains clearly The Congress of Rough Writers because I wanted to know more about the book. I did Flash Fiction from another challenge but stopped because I got busy. I’m prioritizing my writing and just blog a few times a week. Stay at the Ranch for sure. I’ll spend more time writing my memoir. Thank you for your post.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Ritu says:

    You are right Irene, it’s amazing what a one or two word can generate from different individuals!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Miriam says:

    So much talent in one volume. Sounds like something to be proud of Irene. A wonderful achievement. Happy writing into the future.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Enjoying my time Down Under, first with Norah and now with you Irene! I am so so glad we met here, honoured and with great thanks to you my friend after reading your first flashes and so intrigued, that I took my first ride over to Carrot Ranch. And the rest, as they say, is history. Who would have guessed four years ago that we would feature together in such a beautiful and professionaly crafted anthology, as part of such a wonderful, diverse community of Rough Writer friends? The language nuances have made it all the richer, and a great point about all they’ve taught us. Loved your post Irene 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  6. NorCal Zen says:

    This is a great idea! Holding a physical book in one’s hand will always be special. For me that is still the only way I read a longer book. The cover is tasteful as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Somehow I missed your comment. It is a great idea and I love having a book in hand as well though I must admit I don’t need so many bookcases if I read on kindle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • NorCal Zen says:

        Those are two valid points 😊 the thing with bookshelves is that I’d like to only have beautiful books in mine, but only half of the books I read have a beautiful cover, so maybe it would make sense to read the others on kindle? I’ll have to think about that! Have a wonderful day 😊🙏

        Liked by 1 person

      • The thing I don’t like with kindle is you can’t pass on the enjoyment of a book to a friend. There are pluses and minuses with each method.

        Liked by 2 people

      • NorCal Zen says:

        Yes, indeed. Some classic titles I keep purchasing a physical copy over, and over, to have in my bookshelf (like “Think and grow rich”, and “How to win friends and influence people”.) I’ve noticed that when people come over for a visit for the first time, new friends, usually check out the bookshelf at some point. I like giving them a book that means something to me, that I think they would appreciate, when that happens.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Lovely idea. Yes I love giving books also. It gives them an added layer of meaning because of where they have been.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I have enjoyed these Rough Writer tours and getting the history. It is a beautiful story in no small part because of your hand in it. Congratulations on your fine ride.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Charli Mills says:

    Carrot Ranch has been an incredible sandbox, where we get to learn about ourselves as writers and more about our craft through the same idea that acknowledges children learn through play. I appreciate how (from your first flash) you taught others as you explored new fictional genres. Now I can say it was May 21, 2014, that I first learned of BOTS. As this tour takes us around the world, it reflects the thread of community between people who share in common a passion for writing. Thank you for a tour of your place, Irene! And thank you for all your friendship and leadership at the Ranch!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Rough Writer Tour Stop: Noosaville, Australia « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  10. Pingback: Rough Writer Tour: Noosaville, Australia « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  11. Juliet says:

    Thanks for another trip Down Under, Irene. I, like you, wasn’t sure I could write anything fictional, let alone a story in just 99 words. Now, participating in the weekly challenges is one of the writing highlights of my week! Some are BOTS, some come from places I’ve never been before. All make me work hard to portray something clearly without waffling! Unfortunately I don’t always have the time now either to read or comment on everyone’s stories. But I always read the compilation that Charli puts together on Wednesdays. The variety is astonishing! I’m so happy to be part of this all-embracing community.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I find it amazing Juliet – the ones that come from other places – do you find they seem to write themselves or at least the ending? I find it a most peculiar writing occurrence. Yes the compilation is good and those I haven’t got to I at least read there. We are all time poor unfortunately but when you are writing you have to prioritise what your main goal is. Mine of course is my first memoir, but I find it all too easy to put on the back burner.
      I too am glad to be part of the community and glad that you have also joined it. Its a nice place to be.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. TanGental says:

    Ah my memoir mentor joins the line. We all learn so much from these gold chippings we see out there. One day we will all get together and have a ball…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Annecdotist says:

    So glad you joined in, Irene. Your 99-word stories are always a pleasure to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jules says:

    Our world of writing is a wonder – and a delight when we can learn and teach each other new things. Thanks for bringing your thoughts, memoirs, and flights of fancy to Carrot Ranch.
    Keep smiling brightly! Hugs, Jules

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ann Edall-Robson says:

    The Tour has made the world a smaller place. Each stop providing a glimps of the life of a Rough Writer and showcasing a wonderful anthology. Irene, thank you for being part of The Tour and letting us get to know you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. susansleggs says:

    Nice to get to know you Irene. I too like how the prompts lead to different genres. Whenever I talk about my Ranch friends, I include the country you are from. It is a good substitute for traveling the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Norah says:

    Congratulations on a wonderful post, Irene. It was great to pass the baton on to a fellow Aussie in the wonderful World Tour. (I think it almost matches the Queen’s Baton Relay.) Great too, to find out how writing flash fiction supports your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Norah says:

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    The next stop on the Rough Writers Tour around the World is with fellow Aussie Irene Waters. Pop over to see how writing flash fiction contributes to Irene’s memoir writing.


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

  20. Ah, yes. I remember writing Bite Size Memoir prompts with you!

    As far as Carrot Ranch… Who knew, all those years ago, we’d be here now. ? Wonderful. I also marveled (every single week) at the variety of responses generated by one prompt. It’s amazing, isn’t it? Great stop in the World Tour, Irene. Sorry to arrive late to the party but I’m glad I got here! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pingback: Rough Writer Tour: Happy Trails « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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