I’m at the 50,000 word stage of my second novel again, a psychological thriller set in the English countryside. This time, I’m focusing on clarity rather than a restructuring of the narrative events, a sort of trimming away at the plot. A bit like a brief haircut to keep things neat. As I stated in another post, when you start cutting material, you risk losing something of the true nature of the story. Too much cutting might – to use a cliché – “kill the spirit.”
When deciding whether to remove sections or characters, ask yourself a few questions first….”do I really need the section?”…”could the story survive without it?”….”does the idea or character add intrigue to the plot or does it complicate matters?” I once read that a character must have a clear function in a story.
Still, I think writers shouldn’t be too hasty in deleting material. At the very least, they should place all the cut sections in a separate file and keep backups.