Romantically Challenged

The Carrot Ranch November 21, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a romance. Focus on the relationship between two people. Build tension and end on a happy(ish) note. Go where the prompt leads!


That’s the prompt in its familiar nutshell, but it is never that simple, for the nut falls from the tree of Charli Mill’s post that precedes the weekly challenge. There’s always a lot to chew on back at the Ranch where the lead buckaroo continues to share her life and learnings with her ranch hands and readers. This week’s essay on genre and reading as both readers and writers is thought provoking. Genre is emotionally provoking too; don’t many of us react immediately and strongly to certain genres, quick to say we hate it or we love it, or sometimes apologizing and explaining our reads?

Apparently genre is worth considering for a writer marketing their book. Who are the readers they might better reach by getting their book into the right package and onto the right shelves? It’s not as straightforward as I had once assumed. I know I don’t like Romance, or Sci-Fi or Fantasy and I have read very good books from those genres. I really have never bothered myself too much with identifying genre. I read what I like and I like what I read. I read to learn. I am learning a lot at Carrot Ranch these days as Charli distills her MFA work there.

I certainly don’t write Romance. Yet here’s one in 99 words, no more no less.


For Now

He strode through Westerns, then paused long at Historical Fiction. Not knowing what adventures might lie ahead, I followed in suspense, wondering what shelves he’d search next. I secretly thrilled when he turned the corner and browsed gentle reads and women’s novels. Was this a man in touch with his emotions? My own emotions ran high. Hiding behind an open book, a Fantasy Romance Suspense Adventure that was surely too good to be true, I followed through Literary Fiction. He brought my book to the counter.

Bells jangled.

I looked down the street but he’d disappeared in a Flash.


16 thoughts on “Romantically Challenged

  1. Romancing the shelves, building the tension, leaving us hanging on the expectation it is true love, but alas we have to wait. Funny– tonight, my future daughter-in-law took me to a bookstore and I saw the perfect category where true love was shelved — “horsey stories.” There was also “lumbering.” Ah, Wisconsin.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Bar and Chain

        He was irresistible in logger boots and Carhartts. She practically swooned to see him buckle into climbing harness and spurs. He climbed and cut deftly, felled the leaning yellow birches expertly. Now he was on the ground sharpening his saw, a raspy purr coming from his attentive filing. Next he wiped his saw clean of oily sawdust. When he took the carburetor cover off she interrupted him. Complained as how their month old marriage could run smoother too.
        “I know what I’m doing with my saw,” he blushed.
        “Come with me,” she commanded. “I have things to teach you.”


  2. Pingback: For Better or Worse | ShiftnShake

  3. Pingback: Romance « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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