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…