Size is Everything: National Flash Fiction Day - Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, Sat 22 Jun 2013
Edinburgh’s spoken word groups unite to spread very short stories
Sat 22 Jun 2013 was National Flash Fiction Day, a celebration of the short-short story. And to mark the occasion, Edinburgh’s main creative writing groups (Blind Poetics, Illicit Ink, Writers' Bloc and Inky Fingers, whose Mairi Campbell-Jack, pictured above, helped organise the event) joined forces for the first time ever to share their own stories told in 500 words or less.
The four groups were on fine form, entertaining the audience with a catalogue of their diverse skills. The variety of groups was reflected in the number of styles on offer, and the short-short story format kept the night moving at a break-neck pace. This was a double-edged sword; whilst they left no time to get bored, a story with a good or interesting idea had little time to develop. Thankfully, the stories were all tightly made and well-focussed, delivering enough punch in a small space to satisfy.
The shorter style didn’t limit the stories’ themes; the writers packed stories about the end of the world and zombie apocalypses into 500 words, or used the format to explore everyday and domestic occurrences. Whatever the topic, whoever the writer, each story was expertly exploited to produce either a comical turn or an imaginative idea. There was a little too much reliance on funny stories to carry the event, as some of the more serious stories descended into obscurity.
With so many short stories on offer, the event seemed to over-compensate by providing long intervals. These seemed to come rapidly and, whilst they did provide a chance for a coffee and cake, they gave the night a slightly unstructured feeling. Some of the stories were let down by the performers, whose stage voices did not quite match their literary abilities.
With all of Edinburgh’s creative writing groups out-doing each other in one evening, it’s good to know that the city has such a thriving literary environment. Everyone excelled themselves for Flash Fiction day, and all four groups are well worth investigating in the future.