I begin with a disclaimer: although what is presented is a quandary, I am not specifically asking others to provide me with a way out. I have often said in these forums that there are certain decisions that writers must make for themselves, and this is clearly one of those. But I post it here as something of a case study for other novice writers, so any comments or suggestions may well be beneficial to them and I will certainly not be offended. As I have mentioned a few times in the past year, my current project is a historical novel that spans 500 years. If I succeed in getting it published, it will be my first. I firmly believe that it has a very good chance, and have done since I actually began to write it last summer. However, if I go the traditional publishing route (and I intend to try), I will be limited in terms of length and so I have planned and outlined the story with an eye to keeping as close to 100,000 words as possible. That is a consideration in my quandary, but it isn’t a major one. You can’t cover 500 years in 100,000 words and not do a significant amount of telescoping. My problem is a specific chapter in which I had planned to cover a period of about 30 years, with a specific character as a focal point, but now that I’ve started I’m not sure I have enough to really do him justice (although he adds to the overall fabric of the novel). Moreover, there is a significant historical event that occurs during this time period (although I could simply make reference to it later on) and the chapter was to provide a chance to resolve some conflicts left hanging at the end of the prior historical chapter. I could lengthen the previous chapter, the following chapter or both to compensate if I decide to drop this one but I worry about the pacing, which up until now has worked quite well. My first thought was to simply go ahead and write the chapter, knowing that I can always cut it later on. That’s still probably my best bet, although I worry that writing something that I know may well be cut from the final product will affect the quality of the writing (it’s different when I write, generally, and know that SOMETHING is going to be cut, but not what the specific thing is). I suspect that is what is holding me back now. On the other hand, I could sprint on to the next planned chapter (for which I have a very solid idea) and worry about bridging the gaps later. Experience has taught me, though, that skipping ahead and then writing up to that point is usually problematic, especially if you are going to be dealing with essentially the same characters. Characters change subtly as you write about them, often in ways you couldn’t have anticipated. Before I make a decision I’ll go back and review some of the history itself to see just how much I want to devote to the historical event in question. Anyway, thanks for reading. I’ll come back and let you know what I decide.