on Fiction University:
Revisions aren’t for weaklings. They’re hard, they take commitment, and sometimes you have to make the tough call and decide the fate of a scene that isn’t pulling its weight.
I’ve been deep in a revision for a few months now, looking at each scene with a critical eye. Is it advancing the plot or story? Is it serving the story in any way? Is it a scene that should stay, or do I need to kill it?
I’ve been lucky so far, and most of the scenes are indeed doing their jobs, but I have had to kill a few that weren’t. It’s always hard, because there’s usually something in that scene I liked, otherwise it never would have made it this far.
But cutting dead scenes from a manuscript improves the novel as a whole. It’s just not always easy to know if we should.
To be clear, I’m talking about problem scenes, not scenes you know are working.