I am currently 2500 words into a 3500 word short story. The theme was 'gaslamp' leaving the actually story open from there. I am a big fan of traditional 'gaslight' movies such as Hitchcock's Gaslight, with Ingrid Bergman, and have been tinkering with steampunk short stories, so a gaslamp short story was very far from either genre.
Sometime ago, I started a gaslamp short story which had quickly evolved into more of a dectective, psychological story, more gaslight than gaslamp. I had decided to complete the gaslight short story and write a gaslamp one later... but something was still missing. I had been trying to work out how to get from point A to point B in the allotted word limit and failing miserably. The characters refused to oblige me and the detective insisted on required clues and explanations. I left it for four months, as I could not get the story to coalesce cohesively and result in a satisfying ending.
Already, I have managed to trim much of the excess storyline. Now it will (hopefully) fit the required minimum words. I may even have enough ideas, from the edited sections, for a second short story, with the same character. I will revisit this again possibly Friday but am feeling much more confident in the story's direction. My characters are much happier (and having more fun) too.