Thursday, February 4, 2016

Killer Instinct (Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge)

Sometimes the flash challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch happens to coincide with a topic I'm already writing about. Sometimes it hooks onto an idea I'm already pursuing. Rarely, it hits with a bolt of sizzling light that turns me around and sends me in a completely new direction.

Whenever I participate in the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge, and however it strikes me, I get the chance to practice writing in a very specific way, reaching for something that is almost poetic in structureonly the needed words, only the best words to convey the thought. The 99-word restriction means that a story must be edited drastically.

And since my major task in January and February is editing the work that was written last year, this week's challenge linked into that process quite nicely:

February 3, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that explores the question, “What good is power?” Is it a story of empowerment, or a story of a dictator? Poke around power and go where the force takes you this week.

Like any creative activity, writing lets you invent endlessly, generating something that never existed before you wrote it. Editing, while destructive in a narrowest sense, allows you to polish what you've created, leaving you with a finer product than you had before it began. It is an essential part of that creative process.

And whether you are writing or editing, your power over the world you're creating is absolute.

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Killer Instinct 

Benny drew a careful line through three names in his notebook, muttering to himself, "You're history, Jeff. You're outta here, Mike. Adios, Linda." 

They were as good as dead. Benny had total power over their lives.

It was only fair; he had created them in the first place, word-generating additions to the world he was building for his novel. But something told him the story didn't need them. His gut said he should do away with them.

They wouldn't be the only victims of his edits, either. Benny sharpened his red pencil and went back in for the kill.