Recommended reading: Q1, CHARACTER

Anita Arlov, He She It They – National Flash Fiction Day winner 2018

He’s graven. She’s gilt. He was glass-bottle-fed. She was weaned a china doll. He cuts loose. She’s unmoored. He picks her Mexican daisies. She reads him Ines de la Cruz. He’s on Cloud Nine. She’s Man in the Moon. He’s finger inlet, bracken, orca, syrup. She’s Matariki, moss, cowrie-shell, Hula Hoop. She sleeps in his spoon. He wakes her toes-first. He fries her tomatoes. She peels in the sun. He books Dunedin….

(click on title for the rest of the story)


Elaine Chiew, InsuranceNew Flash Fiction Review

You go diving with him in the Bahamas as a leap of faith, even though you’re not sure whether it’s a leap of faith in yourself or in him or in your togetherness. It’s new still in your relationship; you’d met him at a medical conference, out lounging on a cabana. He had drawn up close, in his tan linen jacket and sharply-creased blue trousers, and asked if he could buy you a drink. Not that you are looking for a relationship…

(click on title for the rest of the story)

Francis McCrickard, The Wild West – Bath Flash Fiction Award

We knew how to do lots of things back then.

A friend takes a bullet? Easy. Start a fire; clean your penknife blade in the flames; get your friend to take a couple of slugs of pretend whiskey; find a piece of wood for him to bite on; pour liquor on the wound; extract bullet using penknife; put the blade in the flames again; cauterize the wound.

We knew to keep our canteens full but if you’re without water in the desert, find a cactus. Cactuses have lots of water. Mrs. Brady has one in her window…

(click on title for the rest of the story)


Enam Noeki, A Revolution in the City  Afreada

A farmer’s son, saw the civilians of their village roam the streets near the countryside border. He asked his father if he could join the revolution.

“Why?” his father asked.

“I want to be of great change,” his son said with air puffed up in his chest. “I want the people to not suffer like we do and grant them happiness.”

The farmer stopped digging the trench. “If you can answer this, I will let you go. Why will these people fail?”

(click on title for the rest of the story)


Digby Beaumont, On Finding Your Neighbour Dead: A GuideDancing Alone and Other Lessons: flash fiction

YouTube video of the author reading; more about his book here.


Rob Walton, Burt and us –  Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction

In this place there are many of us who just don’t know what to do with ourselves.

There were five of us who had no idea what to do with ourselves until we went to Auden’s. I can safely say it is the only coffee shop in this town named for an English-American poet. It’s actually the only coffee shop in this town, but, hey, that’s enough.

It’s enough because they started playing Burt Bacharach from behind the hand-made eucalyptus counter, and we started listening to Cilla Black and Sandie Shaw and Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield. And we started arguing about how to say ‘Warwick’, but we always ended up saying our own names in the wrong way or the right way and we always ended up laughing. 

(click on title for the rest of the story)


Riham Adly, How to Tell a Story from the Heart in Proper Time Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction

She’s in the market in Baghdad bending over a bushel of red onions, a handful of pistachios in one palm and the coins to pay for them in another. When she looks up to pay, she’s in a bookstore, a pile of books burdening her arms, books her far-away Americanized brother once read, books that burned her with shame, for not ever, having learned to read. She fumbles for money from her purse but stumbles over the uneven cushions her son messed up. 

(click on title for the rest of the story)


Examples of character-driven books:

Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove

Sara Baume, Spill Simmer Falter Wither

Andrew Sean Greer, Less 

Tina Makereti, The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke

Vincent O’Sullivan, Collected Stories

Annie Proulx, The Shipping News

Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge

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