A self-centered writing update...please forgive my self-indulgence :)
With the house to myself last night, I poured a glass of wine and sat down with the fat stack of binder-clipped pages that is my hot mess of a work-in-progress. And I started tearing it up. It's already gotten quite a thorough beating, but this one topped them all--anything with a tentative question mark next to it was brutally x-ed out, large notes about "missing XYZ" scrawled in the margins, arrows darting everywhere, moving sections and pointing to extensive notes on the backs of pages.
There's a maxim of writing or, more precisely, editing, that states that you must kill your darlings. Some of the loveliest, most cherished bits you've written are the least applicable to the story--and out they must go. And three of my very favorite scenes were counted among the many slain. One simply had no place, as the POV character in it had been reassigned to a less important role, and a scene of her inner monologue made no sense. Another just seemed extraneous, one of those bits that only the author need know about a character, and a third took the story in a direction I decided to prune away.
Giant pen marks through all of them, the pages tossed aside.
And then. There was a tiny, vital bit of info in that first scene that needed to go somewhere else. If the no-longer-POV character didn't know it and share it, who would? Something clicked. That scene was important--just in a different POV. And with a very different twist that, suddenly, fixed half the issues I had with the storyline.
Back in it went, slated for major overhaul, but with the same essence.
And another nagging question--a character has a major change of heart which causes him to contribute to the central conflict of the story. But why, I kept hitting a brick wall, why the change of heart? Well, duh. What happened in that extraneous scene would change anyone's worldview. So, again, slated for major revisions, but back in.
So it might seem that, after all, I'm reluctant to kill my darlings. In fact, these ideas never would have fermented had the scenes not been cut. If I hadn't said goodbye to them, they couldn't have resurfaced in new ways for me. I had to get them out, like weeds in the vegetable garden, before realizing that they might just be flowers that can go in the window box. And that third section? Deader than a doornail.