A reader asked a great question last month.
"What's the best way to trim the 'fat' in a story to make it more concise?"
Often authors are urged to cut. Cut scenes, cut action, cut dialogue, cut characters; this is the fire-sale school of revision. Everything must go.
The general rule of thumb there is to assess everything within the first draft. If you can remove something and the reader can still cobble together a dim approximation of the story, then bam! That thing is unnecessary and must be gutted mercilessly.
“In writing, you must kill your darlings.” --William Faulkner
Orthodox Cutters will apply this Faulkner quote as a universal imperative. They have faith that their ensuing masochistic literary sacrifices will, somehow, purify and elevate their work, on sheer principle.
Is this approach right?
If something can be distilled into a chant, it's rarely flexible enough to be a versatile tool.
Often an emasculated, skele