And why I love them
I’m a Writer of Color, untrained, live outside the traditional publishing hubs, and all my learning comes from reading. The Writing Community has been extremely generous to me. To pay it back in my very small way, I wrote about four flash fiction writers and their styles for Writers’ Winter Fair 2021 aiming to help writers like me who might benefit from those writers’ art and process. This time I organized a poll, and out of 4 choices, Top 10 Flash won. So here are my top ten stories from the year, pieces that teach a lot about structure, theme and imagery, apart from being excellently crafted. Ignore the numbers on the left — they are in no way rankings — they are there because I loved the images! Happy Reading!
“The Emergency” by Frances Ogamba
Why I like it? The marvellous opening! True to the title, Frances begins with ’emergency’, creating a breathless urgency and continues to build layers to this narrative. Plus, love the background of this piece, the reflection of underpriviledge, and the unique takes, like this one: “The room is a pursed mouth…”
“Drowning on Main Street” by Amy Cipolla Barnes
Why I like it? This piece actually edged out another contender from my list because it’s so well structured! It plays with the trust factor in a mother-daughter relationship, and stands out because of what it leaves off the page: “…does the mother continue with wobbly lies to protect the narrator because she feels the stories are better than the truth?”
“Dad Paddles In” by Teddy Engs
Why I like it? I’d venture to say this piece pulls a lot despite its tiny size, both in terms of structure (one-sentence wonder) and the emotions it is able to evoke.
“Passion” by Melissa Ostrom
Why I like it? Consider this: “All day, she enjoyed this significant otherness, this double-selfness. ” Melissa weaves intrigue, and universal dilemmas and truths in this brief but deeply insightful story. Check it out!
“in ache” by Melisa Llanes Brownlee
Why I like it? This tiny piece is a perfect example of how to braid language and culture into your writing and make it universal. I am awed by just how much Melissa manages to include in this tight compression.
“How We Were Born” by Lucy Zhang
Why I like it? Again, I love the voice here, and the unusual setting, very rooted in culture and beliefs. Check out this line: I tell Brother he is more beautiful than the golden crow who burns earth with radiation and explosive flares, who incinerates us, and upon its disappearance, freezes us.
“Certain European Movies” by Emma Cline
Why I like it? The unpredictable twists in the narrative and the ending.
“Fires Near Me” by Faye Brinsmead
Why I like it? “I fell into a pixel-flimsy dream. Disco goats with burning hooves bleating pe-rish pe-rish pe-rish to the tune of Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! ” Check out the superbly done edge-of-the-seat tension and the ending.
“CHAW” by Rosaleen Lynch
Why I like it? The intriguing title, and of course the fab use of the shell in a hermit-crab style flash fiction.
“Little Socks” by Brecht De Poortere
Why I like it? I’d suggest you read it in one flow, dwell on the mesmerising details and be awed by the impactful end. Nominated for Best Small Fictions and Best Microfiction.
There were easily 10 more that I could not include in this list for no reason other than paucity of space (and because it was mandated to make this a Top 10 list!). I feel so bad about this. Apologies. I look forward to include the shortlisted pieces in my upcoming craft blogposts in 2023! Thank you!
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