The long road to a very short story: "The Eternal Goodnight"

It's appropriate that "The Eternal Goodnight" is about a child's bedtime story, because this slippery short employed some impressive delaying tactics.  

Editors reacted with kindly bemusement; some of them liked it, but it never fit anywhere. Even I found it hard to identify a genre—fantasy? interstitial? parody?—and I was pleased when it received the label "surreal."

A gauntlet of readers looked at various phases of the story's development. Tahmi took time away from weaving glass and metal together to offer encouragement. Miriam Oudin suggested some useful cuts. Tracy Yee-Vaught, copy editor extraordinaire, identified the direct-address comma for me. My long-suffering husband read every draft.

What finally made the difference for "The Eternal Goodnight" was the realization that it worked best as flash fiction. It's an odd little story, and it's not one that improves with lingering. Rewriting it in less than a thousand words made every word count.

I'm delighted to have "The Eternal Goodnight" live at Every Day Fiction. The fast feedback and community discussion have been delicious. A writer could get addicted to this.