Review: Impromptu Scribe

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Impromptu Scribe
Impromptu Scribe by Alex Morritt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As he explains, this is a short (in page length) collection of over 30 stories, each between 500-2500 words. Some are too short to be sensible, others beg to be more fully developed. I have to admit, the form is off-putting. As part of a reading/writing circle, Alex writes supershort fiction in response to writing prompts. While this is an excellent way to produce ideas and hone the craft, I am reticent to condone rounding up enough of them to fill a book and bringing them straight to market. Having said that, Alex is an excellent writer. I enjoy his prose and the originality of his ideas. I have enormous respect for the “travelling writer” who brings foreign lands to vivid life. My favourites were “The Art of Conversation”, “Journey to Nowhere”, “Coyotes”, and my very favourite, “Poncho Man”. If the author wishes to make a name for himself in “flash” fiction, I wish him the best. But what I yearn for, as a reader, is for him to pick out some of the very best of these prompts, and develop them as full-fledged stories. It is not the writing or the premises that dilute my sensibilities, but the format. The stories, rather than following a typical exposition-conflict-resolution flow, consist of short exposition-danglers. While I am not in theory opposed to open endings, when reading this work, I felt myself vacillating between confusion at the impromptu cutoff, and a frustrated yearning for more.

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Victor A. Davis has always loved reading and writing short stories. He is an avid hiker and even when away from the world of laptops and wifi, keeps a pocket paperback and a handwritten journal to keep him company on trail. He is the author of two short story collections, Grains of Sand and The Gingerbread Collection. Join his Mailing List for special announcements about upcoming works.