So, I'm on the last story of this project, the one that will finish me out. I have an outline, as I did for all the stories. The problem with this particular outline is that I didn't figure out what my Monster was before I wrote it out. I did that after the fact, when I was flailing around trying to figure out what to do Next and the Hubby helpfully said "Do this one; it'll be short."
A short outline does not necessarily correlate to a short story.
So I finally figured out what my monster was, and that... pretty much invalidated a good chunk of my outline. And now I'm back to pantsing, and I've kind of decided I hate pantsing, but it is what it is and now I have to deal.
My dilemma right now is that if I throw another try/fail cycle in here, where my protag has to fight his way out of the mound and figure out a better way of defeating the Monster (which, I at least know what that will be, go, me), the word count on this thing (which is already a ridiculous 8600) will become even more ridiculous.
But if I have him figure it out before he goes in, that almost seems... too easy, drill sergeant.
I know I always say "write the story and don't worry about the damn word count," but I kind of am worried about the word count because I don't want to close markets off. At the same time, if the story suffers because I'm writing to the market instead of to the story, that's bad too.
And, see, the purpose of these rambly posts where I'm trying to figure out what I should do? Actually help me figure out what I should do. I started it thinking one thing, and now I've come around to the opposite conclusion. Screw the word count, write the story.
And, if the story works better the other way with the shorter word count (as it frequently does, but I'm not sure it will this time), I already know how to fix it.