I ended the story early. The story wanted to be longer, with a POV switch and at least two more scenes. However, I was right up at the 7k word mark as it was. The anthology requested 5k-7k word length. Normally, that isn't a problem, most of my short stories top out at 6k at most. This story was different.
It got me thinking. We talk a lot, we writers, about the story needs to be the length that it needs to be. On the other hand, there are the story structure adherents that dictate a certain length and certain story turns at specific page counts. Structured stories feel a little unnatural to me but I can't deny that they excel at pacing and that's one area of weakness I've been working on this past half year or so.
A short story is only supposed to have one thing going on, plot-wise and it is usually not a good idea to have more than one viewpoint character (and saying all that makes me want to try writing a two or three POV short story right now). The reality seems to be that it is harder to find a market interested in longer short stories. And I've had a few rejections where I wasn't able to hold the editor's interest. So that is a few good arguments in favor of sticking to a specific structure for short stories.
On the other hand, the stories that I've enjoyed reading the most were the ones where there was detail and character interaction that may not have furthered the plot but were entertaining and made the characters feel alive. See, I don't read nearly as many short stories as the average editor at Asimov's or The Magazine of Fantasy and Science fiction. For them, I suspect, they need to be hooked and held hard. For me, I want to be immersed in a world. Yes, I want to be thrilled and excited and pulled along but I don't need a breakneck pace, so long as I trust the writer that he's going someplace.
The thing is, in order to become a writer that readers trust, I have to get published consistently enough for them to trust me. It's a conundrum.
It bears more thought. Maybe I'll write the ending I expected to write, even if it does balloon the word count north of 9k words. Or maybe I should cut down the story I do have to get it under 7k words and take out some of the conversations and world-building.