Kill Your Darlings (but bury them in a shallow grave...)
Editing. Ugh... So you’ve finished that first draft – congratulations! Now’s the time to have a long, hard think about whether everything in that book deserves its place. It’s time to “kill your darlings”.
There are plenty of reasons why a story element might not make the final cut (I’ve looked at these in the previous three blogs), but removing what might be a beautiful piece of prose is always painful.
So here is my advice. Cut what needs to be cut - but don't delete it. Copy and paste it into an ideas document. Not only is that less distressing than deleting it entirely, but it also means it's there to use in a different book.
I have a file with a mixture of completed prose - paragraphs of polished story that wouldn't look out of place in a finished novel, loosely plotted sub-plots and even fully fleshed-out characters. Some of these idea fragments will never see the light of day; others may end up in a new book (perhaps heavily disguised). Still others might be the inspiration for a new idea. If the darling was a sub-plot, maybe it could form the basis of a short story?
Whatever happens to those fragments, one day you might be glad you buried your darlings in a shallow grave, rather than cremated them.