A day late, but I did get a short story finished last night. And I also sent off "The Scent of Cold" to another market, with a few tweaks suggested by the Wordslingers. We'll see how that goes, hopefully I'll hear back from them, soon-ish.
The short story was one that I started in November and I have NO idea why I didn't finish it before. It's a darn interesting concept and the character voice was so strong that it felt more like dictation than writing. I will let it sit a bit and then I may go back and draw it out a little. I seem to write pretty good short stories about 2k in length and I feel I can write some good stories about 6~8k in length. Two different kinds of storyteller gears.
As much as my head is in short stories right now, I have novel editing to do for class on Saturday. I'm supposed to write out two characters and assign their work to other characters, if I can. I'm not sure this assignment works for The Mageborn Mechanic. The novel is only about 50k, so it doesn't need to lose sub plots. What I really want to know is if I need to lengthen the story, add more twists and turns, more planning scenes for the heists. But it's good advice for some of my other novels. Angel Odyssey could probably be shorter and tighter if I cut the Isaac/Boaz character and the Castellan. Smooth Running can trim one or two characters and reassign their actions to someone else.
But I also think that trimming characters makes for a smaller world. I don't mean trimming sub-plots, that has to happen to cut word count sometimes. But the fewer named characters you have in a novel, the more the characters in the story will start to feel like cardboard cutouts. There's a big difference between your protagonist wanting to avoid the crazy lady across the street and wanting to avoid Widow Higgens, who always corrects anyone who calls her 'Missus' and screams at the mailman when he comes.
Now, maybe Widow Higgins can take on the role of Miss Archer, the nice schoolteacher and confidant of your protagonist. Maybe not. Each character I write and name, I put there for a reason. To illustrate the kind of people in that world, to contrast with other characters or to echo them. If your 'red shirts' have names and lives, it means more when they get eaten by a Gorn or a pile of goo.
I don't know. I think Mageborn Mechanic is streamlined enough, but I'll look through the book and see if there's any characters that can merge. I'm doubtful.