When in doubt, always cut.
Writing Lies are back! This one isn’t an outright lie, and that’s the truth, but it does deserve some thought before following this piece of advice.
We all have those spots. You’re heart and soul is on the editing floor in the form of a written work. You are waffling back and forth on a certain scene or two that you can’t quite decide if it is pertinent to the story, or perhaps it just doesn’t seem to fit. Or maybe it’s just a bit long and it drags the story out too much. Either way, you have a dilemma. Do you cut it? Or keep it?
One of the pieces of advice that reigns supreme is to when in doubt, cut it completely. Some uses of the advice have been to delete it completely, which I would like to argue are two completely different things.
While this one can be a good idea, it can also be a bad one. I can tell you with certainty that every time I have cut something (more like permanently deleted it) I always regretted it. To recommend that someone throws something away is a terrible idea. One of the things that can be done with those scenes or snippets that you aren’t sure about is to recycle them. In my opinion, they are always worth keeping. Whether you use them or not, they might just be a perfect puzzle piece to that one unsolvable hole in your story.
My other piece of advice would be to get a second opinion. Don’t just throw it to the wolves and let any person who will read it critique it. Get someone you trust to read it over and see what they think. Good advice usually comes from someone in the know. Pick someone who knows about the genre you are writing in and who you trust to know what is best for your story, your voice and your book.
I’m not against cutting a scene if it doesn’t work for the story. By any means, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But I would not recommend that you make that decision lightly. Make sure you think about it. In short, I think it can be a good idea, but you shouldn’t just delete them without giving it a good deal of thought.
What are your thoughts? Do you think deleting scenes when you aren’t sure about them is a good idea?
By God’s Grace,