“Sunny” 99-word Stories

The Carrot Ranch May 16, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about when a newly released prisoner meets the disabled veteran who adopted the puppy the prisoner trained behind bars. The prompt is based on the short story Charli Mills wrote for Marsha Ingrao’s Story Chat. She asks us to rewrite her story in our words, 99, no more, no less. Go where the prompt leads!

Charli Mills says, “If you have an interest in learning in-depth analysis and how to use it for revision, I invite you to read the comments (including my teaching points for the process of revision). For the purpose of this week’s challenge, you can read the short story “As Far as a Prisoner Can Go.” Your task is to tell the same story but differently. That may sound ambiguous, but it’s what we writers do. All the stories have already been told. Not all the storytellers have yet told them in their own style, voice, genre, tone, or perspective. Take all the liberties you want! Improve it. Wreck it. SciFi it. Romance it. Darken it. Tickle it. Make the story your own.”

“Sergeant Jan Mathers? It’s good to meet you.”

“Same here.”

I reached out with my one good arm and shook his hand. For a newly released inmate, John Tyler held himself confidently. Sunny, my support dog, whined at my side.

“It’s okay girl, you remember him, don’t you?”

Tyler locked eyes with the golden lab.

“After Iraq, I never thought I needed help, but I’d lost more than just an arm. I’m thankful you trained her. She saved my life.”

Tyler grinned. “She saved my life, too.”

“You start at the pound Monday, Tyler. Don’t be late.”

“Yes ma’am.”

If you’re interested in the getting feedback on your writing, I’d like to suggest following Marsha Ingrao’s blog: Story Chat HERE.

Write On!

25 thoughts on ““Sunny” 99-word Stories

  1. Wow, so much to say here. I’ll try not to write a post! The story is great. 99-word stories are basically summaries to be expanded on or not later – at least in my mind. I like how they get me focused on what is important so I can leave out the rambling stuff. Even so one of my readers pointed out that some of my 99 words were superfluous. LOL.

    What you did bringing in a woman vet really worked for me. Your story was different in that the prisoner didn’t spend all his money on travel. You skipped over all the issues that brought up reader questions in Charli’s and went right to the heart. This prisoner needed a job and to have someone to believe in him. The dog was still the catalyst in the story, but it had a very different feel to it than Charli’s story.

    I love your idea of Poetry Chat is such an exciting idea and you bring up an important topic – criticism. Charli is an expert at handling it, but I think most of us are not as far advanced in our writing to be able to chat about criticism.

    When people submit their stories to me, I read them and give them ideas, if I feel there is a need to do so. Generally I have a conversation about any questions I have and the author either defends their writing, or makes changes. I also hold the power of rejection and have only rejected one story on the basis of genre (I don’t publish erotica). Then we put the story out to the public.

    As you can tell the comments stray into all different areas, but an underlying theme usually emerges – like mental health, bullying, or other important issues that might not have been transparent to the author. I am uncomfortable with comments that are actually critical even about grammar, tightening up writing, showing rather than writing, clarifying, but those are things that new writers need to know. I try not to take responsibility for what is said during Story Chat other than to created rules and guidelines and guide with my comments to the chatters.

    I think a Poetry Chat would be very helpful, and to start, you already have a base of poets that love to write and write good poetry. The discussions would be great opportunities to teach the art. You also might choose a poem per month that YOU have already published in your books as teaching opportunities.

    Another possibility for you is to partner with someone – possibly another poet you trust who can summarize the comments and create the CHAT part of the post – the follow-up. The reason for this is that, at least for me, Story Chat gets very time intensive. I took two months off at the end of the first year and one of my amazing authors hosted the program for me. I still commented, but I didn’t have to recruit authors or write the summary.

    Sorry to go on and on, Colleen, but I think you have an idea worth pursuing. Let me know if I can help in any way.


    1. Marsha, you always have such great ideas. I would have to think long and hard on sponsoring a poetry critique group. Perhaps, I could have a few folks who would read a piece of poetry and then give their thoughts on how to improve the piece. I love what you’ve done with story chat. It is going to be a place where we can get ideas. Thanks for your thoughts on my story. I was afraid it was too close to Charli’s version of the story. I left out the money bit, although I thought it played a valuable part in her story. The idea of getting as far away as possible from where you came from is something I totally understand. That added dimension to the character in my mind. I’ll try to stop by more often. I always learn something of value on your blog. Thanks for your ideas. You’re a wealth of information. ❤


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