To call these short stories flash fiction might imply they are something less than they are, for these stories say more than what is written. Martin Chambers captures moments, characters and scenes familiar to us all in a way way that leaves us wondering. Many of these have been previously promoted in his 'story to read on the bus' Facebook posts and the 'suggested serving' is to read one a day. More
Most of these stories are short, six hundred words or so. It is a length that requires word discipline, not long enough for flowery prose or complicated scenarios but long enough to create movement. Just as an artist might paint a portrait with the subject gazing off to the side, or looking directly to us with an enigmatic smile that reveals the fact of a secret without us knowing what the secret is. It is the difference between writing a scene and a story, and it has value because it moves us. We might think or we might feel, but after a good story we are not the same. We, the reader, have moved.
Some of this collection have been placed in competitions only to be rejected later by anthologies, others published yet overlooked even for the short list. But then, who can know the mind of competition judges or editors? You can judge for yourself.
The point is here is a collection of short short stories that vary from sweet tales of children to sad ones, stories of murder perhaps, science fiction as aliens arrive to speculate what life might be like on this small planet, and stories that will challenge the grammar police or rummage inside the head of the reader as only the written word can. In other words, something for everyone.
This collection began as a series of ‘Stories to read on the bus’. We are told no one reads anymore and this is why book sales are down. Yet on the bus you will see many with their head in a book. Young people and old, from gothic fantasy to thriller romance, reading, their world not the one we see through the bus window.
Others have their small screens and probably if I could sneak a look, pictures of cats doing adorable things. I too have Facebook and the marketing people tell me to increase my reach I must post pictures. Curate not create, they say.
Well I am a writer and I create, and being bloody minded I began to post short stories, words, no pictures. As a picture tells a thousand words that became my aim. Less than a thousand words to rival a cat, to drag you from the screen into a world with myriad possibilities. Where a character looks out from his bus, the bus we all ride on, and as he smiles enigmatically you wonder what it is he sees.
So here is a month of bus trips. I hope you enjoy.
Cover picture is ‘Lake Ballard’.
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