Peter Glen wrote:hmmm, if it's a matter of keeping the good stuff, I'll be cutting so much out of the story might end up looking for a poetry prize ... hehe. Seriously though, I'm looking forward to trying out this technique!
If it helps, my 2nd Quarter entry was RIGHT at the 17k mark for word count. I knew this made it a long shot, but I thought (and still think) it's one of the best things I've ever written, so I submitted. And made SF!!! So don't discount those longer pieces. Harder to win with them? Very likely. Impossible? Never!
That said, this story started out at over 20k words, and I edited down to just under 17k. Might not seem like a lot, but I sure worked up some sweat in the process. So to echo your other advice, editing and streamlining only makes your work that much better. But don't back away if your awesome story ends up a bit longer, either.
I'm not sure if this is a double-edged reply, back-handed support, or me playing devil's advocate. I'm so confused!!! LOL