In many ways Campfire Stories, my first entry into the Cracked Flash Fiction Competition, wasn’t a great success despite it coming first runner-up and I’m not just took talking about my rule breaking.

Why It Didn’t Work

The story suffers from one of my usual flash fiction problems is that my story is too big for my word limit. As Mariah Burkett pointed out in her feedback

“Mainly what I felt was lacking: emotion. It (the story) feels disconnected from the characters”

Beyond Toby and Sandra no other character was named or had any personality. In fact the reader has no idea how many folk are listening to Sandra or whether they are even human to be honest.

The Reason for This Basic Mistake

This is a basic error and should have avoid which was due down to a tight deadline and, more importantly, I was focusing too much on Sandra’s tale. I wanted to include the shark-horse you can see on the picture on the right. However I felt that without multiple examples of spliced animals the image would be too random and pop the reader’s bubble of reality with the story. Coming up with these examples was good fun though.

What Did Work?

Even in a story which has major issues there are still a few things I’m proud of.

Toby became a whisper


Flame devils dance between the fire’s blackening logs

Both are descriptions that feel new and fresh and will probably be cannibalised into other, hopefully better stories in the future.

What did you like or dislike about my story Campfire Stories? Tell me in the comments below

Find out what @The_Red_Fleece thinks of his story Campfire Stories (Tweet this article)