I pulled all the threads of my “pilot story” together to look at them as a stand-alone short story. Strangely, they came up to–you got it–right at 9,500 words. I seriously wonder if I’m ever again going to write a story that doesn’t weigh in at something other than 9-12K.
This was an interesting process, though. It’s helped me see the ebbs and flows of it, and see even more places I need to file away a few rough edges. I’m going to work on this for a day or two, and I expect then that I may be able to move on.