Thank you to everyone who commented on my IWSG post this month. If you didn't see it, I was trying to decide whether I should cut words to fit a specific market, or continue with the story as I wanted to tell it.
I decided to cut words! I realised I had no choice, I would kick myself if I didn't at least try - on account of my huge crush on this publisher! It was only 3300 words over the absolute maximum (and I checked, there's no leeway), I could cut that easily... In fact, my words in the IWSG post was easy peasy.
Oh dear... those dreaded last words.
As I started to cut a few words here and there, tightening sentences that admittedly were already pretty tight because I can't write any other way, I also started to add words: I needed to clarify a certain point I was trying to make, I'd cut off a train of thought halfway through. And I'd forgotten Christmas. When you're trying to denote the passing of years in a small number of words, Christmas is always a great bullet point.
My word count now stands at 4000 words over the maximum. Looking at the numbers alone, I can see where I can slice it - the story is top heavy, the first chapter is over three times the length of the final one. But I've read and re-read, and I just can't slash any more words without losing the impact of the story.
It looks like I won't be able to submit to this imprint after all...