I had to make a tough decision over the weekend. I thought I had solved my subplot problem with the work-in-progress, only to realize that...no. It was worse and deeper than I thought.
Because I'd made a very basic mistake.
I found a fascinating historical fact and was so keen to use it, I tried to shoehorn it into a story that it didn't really suit. As I said to my editor when I emailed her about it, I was trying to combine My Fair Lady with Law & Order, and it wasn't working. The My Fair Lady part (ie. the romance) had to have a certain tone (lighter), and the Law & Order part a different one (quite dark). However, I already had dark undercurrents to the romance, so add in the L&O, and oooh, baby, the balance tipped way over to the dark side.
If this were a medieval, or being written by somebody else, that might be perfectly fine. But this is a Regency, being written by me, which means I want lots of snappy dialogue more suited to a comedy than a drama. This also being me, however, I want those dark undercurrents -- but it wound up really ping-ponging between lighter and dark and very dark.
So it became not just a plot problem or a pacing problem, but also a tone problem. If there's one place I don't want conflict in my book, it's the overall tone. Scenes can have different tones, of course, depending on what's happening, but I don't want it sound like I tried to combine two very different stories into a Frankenbooken.
Fortunately, my Esteemed Editor agreed to the change.
I must confess, it was like getting an 800 lb. gorilla off my back.
That does mean a lot of rewriting, but I tell ya, it's a lot easier to do that than to try to make the wrong shoe fit.