Special Edition: Flash fiction

April continues the tradition of the special editions edited by reputed professionals for specific reading requirements of discerning reading community.

This time the main focus is on flash fiction as a popular literary genre. Flash fiction is being promoted in a big way by mainstream and literary journals---print and online. Responding to the pressures of post-industrial society, this flexi form can sum up the human experience within six words to 1,000 word limit. Challenging task for a writer working within this difficult form. Compression, compassion, empathy, raciness and brevity characterize the domain of micro- story-telling by a talented narrator, adept at maneuvering the narrow alleys and blind turns in order to reach a fixed destination and time. Trending these days is a kindred challenge--- prompt-writing. Whether poetry or prose, a prompt is given and a volunteering author has to fit their works into that framework, sometimes constructed by a one line only. The indefiniteness and elusiveness of the given theme can be both infuriating and liberating for a literary imagination but the entire exercise of building up of a controlled narrative against a tight deadline works as an aphrodisiac.

The aim this time was to put the spot light on the genre of flash fiction that goes by other names as micro or mini or short short or nano fiction. Word count, thematic consistency, evolution of characters, mood/s, atmosphere, situation/s play a crucial role in the delivery of this type that also demands a well-balanced structure and dialogue, developed in a dialectical manner, not static.

Dynamism is the key word here.

Speech too is important. You have to sound every day, not exotic, while delineating the human interactions in relatable contexts and situations that reflect the common realities of a globalised world where, despite different languages, subjectivities and nationalities, we have all come to resemble each other in terms of manipulated choices of clothes, food and cultural consumption through English and media as prevalent international modes of cognition of a frighteningly-similar world; a world where we feel free but are not, being persuaded subliminally by the advertisements, multinationals and TV.

Writers have in various degrees risen to define the scare and delight of such regimented living, masked for majority except the intellectuals involved in decoding  the  civilizational mores.

Fiction---flash and short or long---is ably suited to capture the noise and in authenticity of the mass society and its flashy lifestyle and thereby, enable a reader to quickly identify and claim as their own, the experience of a fictional character.

Fiction becoming real; real, fiction; this artistic and reading process has their own tensions and in-built drama and the ability of such an artifact to elevate the local into the universal is simultaneously, both amazing and empowering. We read works of literature for delight and insights---and comfort and a sense of solidarity as well.


This month a fine selection of flash fiction is done by the guest editor Kelli J Gavin, a noted fiction author, widely published. Kelly has done a great job!  She has carefully chosen 17 writers in their top form and the variety of themes, styles, idioms and visions is as refreshing as a leisurely walk in the woods on an early spring morning. Seventeen writers and their nano worlds; their delight in language as a game and a social medium; their views and insights---all these turn their flash fictions into memorable literary encounters.

We thank Kelli for her kind support to a noble cause and as a fellow practitioner of the craft, her choice is impeccable. Our gratitude to these participants as well.


There are other regular features as well.

A great variety of prose and poems written by writers earning recognition across the publishing world. There are critical essays and book reviews that echo current concerns; a photo feature and an interview.

Author of the month is the Canadian poet, writer, editor and founder of a press---  Sharon Berg.

Highlight of the edition is an insightful paper by the celebrated artist, Robert Maddox-Harle, the senior editor of this journal.

Enough to last a month, no longer cruel, in some senses!

Sunil Sharma

Editor, Setu (English)
Kalyan, MMR, India

1 comment :

  1. Dear Sunil,

    It is such a joy to be a part of Setu, and it's variety of opportunities for readers and writers to enjoy. I really am looking forward to the home special edition. It will be nice to learn more about the people behind those writing for this incredible journal. Thank you for all you and the other editors do to make this possible.



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