My current WIP has a May 1st deadline and a 20,000 word limit. I'm up to 16,000 words at this point, but I having a problem, one I really haven't experienced before. Too much plot.
I don't normally do a complete outline for a book of this length, but I will create a set of notes, including a scene list. In the case of "Wild About That Thing", I've got way too many ideas! Already I've scotched three or four of my projected scenes, but I NEED the remaining ones in order to bring the story to an appropriate resolution. I'm really worried, though, that I don't have the word count to complete the tale.
Now probably any authors who are reading this are thinking, "Heck, just cut something earlier in the story." That's easy to say, and I'm sure the story includes some fat that could be excised, but not whole scenes - at least, I don't think so. As it is, I'm concerned that I haven't taken enough time to develop the relationship between the heroine and her two lovers (this is a ménage). I don't want to make the story even less plausible. It's hard enough to believe that my heroine falls so quickly for a man she's just met. If I shorten their joint scenes, that will just make things worse. At the same time the plot requires some of the non-erotic scenes in order to clarify the heroine's situation and her internal conflicts.
I've been writing romance novellas for a couple of years now. This is the first time I've run into this difficulty. Usually I'm very good at estimating how long a story will be based on my initial concepts. I've never yet had to perform surgery on my first draft in order to shorten it to the specified length.
I'm not sure what's going on. I will say that I feel like I know my heroine really well, perhaps more deeply than is usual for one of my novellas. Maybe I'm trying to expose too much of her personality and her history. Or perhaps my premise is just too complex for a work of this length, though it doesn't seem like it should be.
If I had more time, I'd send the work to one of my crit partners for cutting suggestions, but it looks like I may be right up to the wire. (But maybe I can beg someone to give me a really quick turn around...)
Does anyone else suffer from Too Much Plot when you've got an upper limit on length? If so, how do you handle it?