I finished that short story I was working on- just today in fact.
However, that’s only for a very liberal definition of finished. The rough is done, but I still need to do some polishing. I also need to trim it. This story needed to fit a specific word count, and, well… The start is fine, the middle is a bit fat, and the ending bloated up on me like a goat in a bean cannery.
I used to have trouble with trimming. Which is why my first short stories usually ran around ten thousand words. Practice helped cut that back, but another useful tool was a book that was recommended to me by a writer friend, Ferrett Steinmetz. It’s called The 10% Solution.
It’s a short book with a simple basic idea- take your first draft and cut it by about ten percent. That’s to get rid of the unnecessary fat that’s accumulated. It has a nice little system that helps you start doing this, and for awhile I was very faithful about running all my stories through it. It worked fairly well, and I was happy with the results.
Nowadays, I don’t do that as much. Probably because it’s mostly been internalized, and I don’t write epic short stories nearly as much. I may have to bring it out again for this one though.
That goat looks mighty ominous.