A seed of hope, caught in a web of lies.
To a writer, every story is unique, but words like “unique”, “good”, and “interesting” are almost meaningless by themselves. People need a frame of reference. Publishers need to know what kind of story they’re reading in order to evaluate it properly, and audiences need some way of deciding whether this is the right story for them.
If a finished draft is too long, or too short, the first step is to create a fresh outline, from scratch. This ensures the outline is accurate, and helps you to review the story as a whole. Ideally you should create multiple outlines at different scales. First, describe each scene in 1-5 sentences. Then, if the story is a novel, describe each chapter in 1-2 sentences. Last, identify the 2-5 key moments in the story.