Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Review: FAMILY CONNECTIONS - short stories by Chrissie Gittens

What a delight it was reading these short stories, all so very different and yet maintaining the theme of relationships. Most are set in present time and are based on the kind of situations you or I might find ourselves in, although there are two exceptions: a fairy tale and a story set in the future. Thet are all short and perfectly crafted.

At last, a short story writer who doesn't use obviously flowery language, I thought. Very down to earth and no-nonsense kind os stories. So impressed was I that I took my favourite story - Onyx, about a tenant getting revenge on an unscrupulous landlord - with me on holiday to see more closly how Chrissie achieved this. I could get some good writing tips here, I thought.

However, I was most surprised at the results of my research. I highlighted all the adjectives and adverbs and found, to my astonishment, that the story was rich with such parts of speech. And then I highlighted the verbs and saw what a variety she used.

To me, this is what makes a good writer. They use a richness of language that doesn't shout out 'Hey, this is very descriptive writing - look at me and never mind about the story'. No wonder many of these stories have been published previously or been read on Radio 4 (who I know, to my cost, only use stories of a very high standard.)

Salt Publishing
Read August 2009

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