Friday, January 04, 2013

Flash with Little Fire

A Flash of Inspiration: A Collection of Very Short Stories by Indie Authors by Helmy Kusuma

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love flash fiction, short-shorts, twitter fiction, whatever you call it. There is something terrific about a tight, terse story. A good piece is like a punch in the gut or a flower in the barrel of a gun. Something visceral happens to the reader, as it does when a poem or painting makes one do more than smile at the cleverness of the artist.

And I wanted to love A Flash of Inspiration, a book composed by members of a Facebook group of independent writers. Independent writers should get more attention than they do, and a book like this could help. But it doesn't help.

Flash fiction should come across as natural, like fine conversation. It should not, however, read as if it was written in a flash. While there were some startling and well crafted pieces in this book, most were more potential than finished stories. That is, they could be good with more polish and care about language and images.

Many of these stories relied on shocking or surprising endings. That worked for a few, but for several the endings seemed more gimmick than gravitas. Not that I expect all seriousness. Laughter has heft too and great value.

These writers can write. The question is can all of them revise?

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