This is the first thirteen of my latest dive into flash. I'm more than willing to exchange full crits for anyone else with a flash story. Thanx in advance!
Charles felt he was ready to go live. "Request. Single male---" Wait. 'Single' is the same thing as 'divorced,' right? Yeah, that makes sense. "...early 30s, excellent shape---" Suck in the gut. "...seeks single female, mid 20s to mid 30s, who is ambitious, confident, and attractive. Athleticism is a plus. Enthusiasm towards the visual arts is also a plus. Must be---" I've asked for enough. "That's all. Submit." Emily Wheeler appeared before him.
Posts: 31 | Registered: Jul 2013
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Flash's brevity makes for challenges that longer prose has less of. This opening gets right away into close narrative distance through a deft use of close psychic distance. A shortcoming that keeps it distant for me and not working as strongly as might be desired and intended is a lack of external sensations.
Where and when is this? In a living room? An office? A mall cubicle? Where or how does Emily Wheeler appear? In a screen shot? In person?
Pull back from the zoom and show a bit of the wide-angle field of view. Too close can be as open and wide a remote narrative distance as a narrator lecture summary.
But the immediacy of the dramatic moment in scene is strong and curiosity and empathy evoking. I'm curious if Wheeler is perhaps an old, unwanted acquaintance coming back as the only best candidate date mate for Charles or is she more ominous.
Posts: 6037 | Registered: Jun 2008
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I need an immediate reason to care about Charles. There's very little to go on other than his want for a very stereotypically attractive woman. This is going to immediately turn off your female readers (and slush readers) unless you give them an incredible personal reason they can empathize with.
As said above, setting is important. Future? Near or far? Present?
Eliminate the narrative distance in the opening sentence, "Charles felt". We're already in very deep 3rd person point of view if you want to let his thoughts interject without modifiers. Just dive right in there.
Biggest thing with flash... STRUGGLE. We need to care about Charles then rip away what he wants. If he wants Emily, give him Pam.