I have spent much of the summer wrestling with a conundrum, which I still haven’t solved.  As regular readers will know, I have been working on the Pilgrimage of Grace.  I submitted my article to a peer-reviewed journal and at the beginning of summer, I got word back that they had decided not to publish it.  Of course, this was disappointing news and I read the feedback from the peer-reviewers with interest.  Thankfully, it was by turns enthusiastic and constructive in its criticism.

But therein lay something of a problem.  Both reviewers identified different aspects which they thought would benefit from further expansion.  Now, not only does that mean more work (which of course goes with the territory and is, to some extent, expected) but also, it will take the article well over any journal’s word limit.  It was already long.  If I do what the reveiwers suggest, it will get even longer. Unpublishably long.

I mentioned this to my fiend, whose response was along the lines of ‘well, it’s not worth worrying about until you’ve done the revisions’.  But I honestly don’t think I can just prune 3000 words without it having a serious impact on the overall piece.  And in fact, it would mean more pruning than that, because it would have to go much shorter in order to accommodate all the new aspects too.

I’m left with a dilemma.  Do I do lots of extra work, and then try to shoehorn it in, taking a pair of shears to the article in order to make the new stuff fit? (It will take several months more work to get through all this.)  Do I leave it as it is and try to find a home for it elsewhere – and even then it will require quite a bit of editing?  Or is this trying to tell me that it wants to be something longer?

The problem with the last option is that there is little, if anything, between the journal article (c8-10 thousand words, depended on where you go) and the full length book…  I’m not really into book territory with it at the moment – it would need widening well beyond the Pilgrimage of Grace – and a book would take years.  Which, frankly, I don’t have if I want to get a job.  I need more publications on my CV, and I need them sooner rather than later.