The story is quite verbose and long, partly because I fell victim to a common ploy of most sci-fi amateurs: over-explaining things.
I wasn’t sure how to convey enough context while still retaining elements that would make the story readable (a protagonist overcomes a struggle to achieve a goal, etc.) Perhaps this over-explaining helped to carry the heavy context of the story, but in some way I felt I had short-changed myself and my readers in deriving from context.
But more importantly, the version I submitted and the one on my blog is the sixth version. That’s the weird part. Earlier, I was used to sitting down in one session and rushing forth till the story didn’t end. This time, I scratched out so many sketches and versions that I nearly gave up on the story mid-way.
Maybe that’s a good thing? I’ve learned to edit and be more careful with my work and probably set reasonable deadlines (like a story every week or two weeks). Or maybe the earlier creative tornado of thought was a better style? I’m not really sure how to navigate creativity.