Nov 13 2009
- “Does this develop an important character or advance the plot in a meaningful way?” If not, it’s a strong candidate for deletion. (To make scenery meaningful, draw it into the story– let characters interact with it or use atmospherics to develop the mood, etc).
- “Is there a better, faster way to show this?” For example, rather than go through a scene establishing a minor character’s incompetence, perhaps you can just mention some of his spectacular failings in passing.
- “Is this redundant?” I’d only recommend hammering the same point repeatedly if it’s really important.
- “Am I focusing on what is most important?” Don’t waste our time on the small stuff. Spending 25 pages searching for a minor artifact is probably unacceptable but spending hundreds of pages getting Ulysses from Troy to Ithaca obviously works.
- “Is this coherent?” If it’s just a minor tangent that goes nowhere, get rid of it. Additionally, try to tie together plot points as much as possible. For example, if the superhero has a day job, ideally his work contributes to the plot in some way. Maybe he uses his skills as a journalist to investigate Lex Luthor. Maybe his struggles to hold down a pizza-delivery job show how much he’s sacrificing to be a superhero.