Flash Fiction commentary

So I’m participating in the NYCMidnight Flash Fiction Contest, and I’ve just received the judges’ feedback on my first piece, “The Overnight Shift”.

What the judges liked about your story

Exceptionally clever blend of modern urban elements with fantasy. Robert is such a likable character that by the end I don’t even mind his deceptive treachery. The twist is funny, unexpected, and thoroughly enjoyable.…

Humorous dialogue, especially with the demon and the human. The imagery of the coffee was visceral and imaginative.…

I liked how you incorporated dialogue in your story. Your characters’ personalities shone through with the dialogue.…

What the judges feel needs work

The centaur’s speech is somewhat out of place. He seems like a bit of an archetype, more archaic than the other creatures, especially against the rest of the fantasy races who seem well-integrated. His use of “art thou” is an example of when his speech seems particularly out of place. If this character is meant to be different from the others in terms of his integration, the reader may need more cues to read him this way.…

There’s a lot of introduction of characters that don’t feel like they are necessary to the story. Also because of the anachronistic elements (mentioning Wikipedia and Pokemon Go), I’m having trouble getting a sense of place and how rules work in this fantasy world. Also…why are they letting faun children play in a garbage dump? If that’s okay, why are there 3 of them on duty? If you’re going to have relaxed workers, you must have a contrasting militant one, so we understand the rules. Also, more showing, less telling. We should see the rainbow, not hear about it.…

Make sure that each interaction between your characters is meaningful. With short stories, every word counts. Each scene has to connect to each other somehow, or at least move the story forward.…

I’m glad they enjoyed it. I’ll certainly take their critiques into consideration as I polish it up for submission…