Character Arc and New Flash Fiction: “Vertical Blind”

“Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.”
–Kurt Vonnegut

Sometimes all a story needs to work is a little character arc. It’s hard to find a classic work of fiction that doesn’t lean heavily on characters going through some change in the course of the story–Hamlet on his journey to becoming an avenging murderer, Ebenezer Scrooge becoming a nice old guy. Maybe this appeals to us because we want to believe that a person can change, that we can change, but even when characters end up right back where they started, a little arc goes a long way.

Throw in a hammer, a samurai sword and a body in a dumpster and you get “Vertical Blind,”  Carl Robinette’s latest flash fiction published by Every Day Fiction. Read the Story

When police detectives come knocking at his door, the narrator of “Vertical Blind” finds out a shouting match he heard the previous night coming from a nearby alley was the sound of a woman screaming for her life and not the usual everyday drunks he is used to. He comes to find out what he heard had been a woman being murdered.

This story has a minimal plot, but character arc seems to be holding it together well enough. Here’s an excerpt from “Vertical Blind.”


I jolted awake. Two in the morning. Another woman screaming in the alley.

I threw on shoes. Grabbed a hammer. Raced outside and down the stairs, heart pounding. I had my phone out, 911 punched in and ready.

The woman’s scream echoed out of the alley again.

My neighbor’s door banged open behind me. The guy from the laundry room. He was shirtless, moving fast. He was armed with a samurai sword.

He shouldered up to me. He registered my hammer. We locked eyes, nodded once and charged ahead.

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4.4 Stars on Every Day Fiction


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