Good evening, afternoon, or morning to the international flash fiction community. Ready for some results? A huge thanks to R Matt Lashley for going all judgemental on us this week. Here’s what he thought of it all:
Alright, alright. It’s good to be here ladies and gents. Thank you for coming out tonight. My, aren’t you a nice looking crowd. I didn’t realize the annual convention of beautiful people was in town. Must be my lucky day. I know you’re all anxious to get back to whatever it is that beautiful people do all day, so let’s get right into the results …
The Speech by Sarah
There’s a lot (a whole lot) of telling in flash fiction. Lots of summarizing, lots of lecturing. I believe, because flash is so compact, the tendency to tell rather than show is innate within the form. It’s a struggle to show details in such limited space. And that’s why writing good flash fiction is an art.
This week there were a number of pieces that did a good job showing. This author balanced showing and telling in a logical way. This story also provided advancing conflict all the way to the final scene—something else that is hard to do in flash. Very well-written story.
Mechbot Nanny by asgardana
What kind of mechbot thinks, “First off, I’m not even supposed to be here.”? A mechbot with a human attitude, that’s what kind. And we don’t find out exactly how human until the end of the story. In flash, pulling off a transformation in a character’s worldview is difficult. This piece managed to do it in an engrossing way.
Easy Like Sunday Morning by to_the_future
This piece was a nicely told, straightforward story. Little details make a story real. For example, the guy flicking away the cigarette butt–great little detail that instantly added credibility to the story. Hearing the character think “first of many [cigarettes]” gets us thinking about being bored by the tedium of performing a task we know we won’t enjoy. And maybe even conveys a little nervousness. Excellent details, excellent story.
Sitting in a Tree by Jessica Franken
When you have so few words to get a story out, titles can play a huge role in bridging gaps and providing context. The title of this piece put a nursery rhyme into my head and then played off of it starting with the first line. It worked well.
The narrator tells her love story which starts off with a happy ending in mind, but she revises the story a few times, adding nasty bits of real life, until we’re left with an unquestionably unhappy ending.
The parenthetical style in the last paragraphs made the ending choppy, like what-weres and what-could-have-beens were churning around in a food processor. It was unusual, but somehow worked to create a nice chopped salad of emotions.
Winging It by Tamara Shoemaker
After finishing the first half of this piece, I was punch-drunk on metaphors—and loved it. It was tight too—all of the images were relevant. It’s so easy to get overly verbose or to take that universal word hammer and pound relationships together that end up corrupting a story or, at the very least, diluting its power. This piece forged imagery and story together quite nicely.
Note to My Sister by Rebekah Postupak
The twist at the end sold me on this piece. I’m probably dumber than most people reading this, but I like a clever surprise as much as the next guy. Probably more so since I rarely see them coming, ‘cause of being dumb and all.
I enjoyed the list structure. It was technical and my mind immediately wanted to follow the enumeration (first, second, third, last). This was a nifty, well-written, picturesque little story that employed an effective technique to surprise me. Those of us who’ve written and read a fair share of flash fiction know firsthand how difficult it is to pull off a surprise revelation. Kudos, author!
Note to My Sister
First, I’ve brought your underthings, which are silk and smell of lavender. (That was a surprise!)
Second, your pantyhose, so nobody will guess how long it’s been since you’ve shaved. You crack me up! We don’t care, but I know you do, so.
Third, a new dress. It’s secondhand (sorry about that), but just LOOK at all those pearls!! It could be a queen’s gown, and the sea green matches your eyes.
Last is hair and makeup. I’m lending you my favorite lipstick. Just this once.
There, you wild angel, you star of my heart, you death-snatched sister, are you happy? You finally get your wish to be a lady.