I’m torn between being vain enough to want to know what people think are elements of my “signature style” and not wanting to let such knowledge unduly influence my future work.
The first draft of my entry for the GiantJuly19 flash fiction contest is complete. This time I deliberately left the pages unnumbered so I would be (relatively) less mindful of my length. Came in at 2435 words. That’s more than trimming an unnecessary word here and there; that’s real meat that has to come out.
I always kept in the back of my head the option to publish a “Director’s Cut” once the contest results have been announced, but now I’m wondering if that doesn’t cheapen the contest entry somehow. The editing should be more-or-less organic, which requires me to care deeply about the 2k-word version. It should be something worthy of the contest evaluators’ time. More people will read the contest version than my precious puffed-up darling, after all.
Anyway, time to get cutting.
Underneath the dresser, the outlet plate slowly opened like a door. Out of decades of habit, Bolt waited and listened, then peeked around the open edge of the plate and scanned the floor of the room, starting with the human-sized door to his right, past the bed with its head against the opposite wall, to the desk under the window to his left, then back to the door.
Bolt had had the house to himself for over a month, but he hadn’t outlived the rest of his family by being reckless. Even stepping out onto the hardwood floor, he moved slowly and listened intently before returning the plate against the wall. Years ago, he would have thrown the infinitesimal switch that his father had shown him how to install, making the outlet live again should any humans try to use it while he was out.
The O’Tooles had probably been about average as human hosts go. Two kids, a dog at first, a cat when it was just Jeannette. Old Man Gordon hadn’t been the handiest man, and he had rarely poked into any of the nooks and crannies where Bolt’s family made their home.