Critical Consensus of ‘Fierce’ – Good concept, but tension falls flat

I finally popped in to the comments for FierceI admit, I was terrified of what I might see.

I’m happy to say I survived with most of my ego intact!

The story has rated an average of 3.5 out of 5 stars. I’m okay with this. This was one of my very first concepts as I read through various guides to flash fiction, and one of the first ideas I got to work in less than 1000 words. I think the guides written by Holy Lisle over at howtothinksideways.com were the most helpful in getting me from concept to completion, so I’ll throw in this little plug for the “How to Write Flash Fiction that Doesn’t Suck” lessons available there.

Okay, so, the question is – why only 3.5 / 5?

Well, the comments I’ve got so far give me a pretty good idea. Readers spoke of a tension promised at the beginning of the story that petered out with each line. The story had a girl with a baseball bat and a monster crumpled before her. Any real monster would jump right back up and have at her, or at least do a bit more than fall apart after (as far as the reader knows) one slug from a little girl. Instead, the monster is a weak thing that doesn’t actually do all that much in the story.

It’s fair criticism – tension should build, not die out. The monster has to provide a clear obstacle for Valerie and her father to overcome, and I can see why readers felt that the promise was never paid in full.

My defense – I had hoped the father-daughter relationship would shine as the true star of the story. It’s really about daddy helping his little girl realize her inner bravery. I think many readers felt that the focus on that dynamic left the monster as little more than scene dressing.

I am very glad, though, that reviewers saw the concept as a good one. Positive aspects that were pointed out included the idea of fear as the monster’s food, the way daddy helps Valerie understand her bravery, and the overall potential of the story for future revisits and rewrites.

Not bad for a first publication. I feel much better now that I’ve read the comments!

My only regret for this whole experience – the state of this blog when Fierce was in the spotlight. I had a chance to make a good impression on visitors, but I ran with too many poor choices in content.

Anyway, I’ll be visiting each of the folks generous enough to leave comments on EDF. Over the next few days, I’ll feature their blogs and try to find the most flattering samples of their work!

 

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