I have trained myself pretty well to write by short stories between 3k and 5k words since that's what most of the literary journals and magazines are looking for. Checking my word count while writing helps keep me on track in terms of structure. I've written over a hundred short stories so when I say I'm trained to write to a certain word count I really mean it. So, I just finished a new story. But it sort of breaks my rule about length. This one under 3k. It wasn't supposed to be and I can probably get it up there while editing. Do I work with the story as it is? Or I could continue with the story. I mean things don't always have to end where we think they should, do they? I'm a pantser so I was just writing along and BAM! The so-it-would-seem perfect ending pops in my head. It takes things in a different direction than where I thought I was going. I think I like it, but I'm worried it's a bit of a copout to keep it so short and not really resolve too much. On the other hand, this story turned into somewhat of a statement piece due to the unexpected ending. And there is one journal I've wanted to submit to that takes stories between 2k and 3.5k so I'm right in there. How do you know when you've reached the end of a short story? Like the real end? I would especially like to hear from other pantsers on this. When you don't know the ending when you start writing a story how do you know when to stop? Do you always end the story at the first opportunity or do you keep going? I think I have a history of ending stories at the first chance I get. But, like I said, I'm somewhat trained when it comes to the short story structure and length. This one's throwing me for a loop. It's sort of a weird ending which makes the whole story a bit weird. But is it the right ending? How do you know when you've hit the right ending?