If there is one lesson I learned from editing and rewriting, it’s to look at each chapter and make sure the words are focused on the main storyline and move the plot forward. Some of my best paragraphs, funny subplots, and compelling characters are now in a still growing 77 page file of dumped scenes. Maybe I can use them in a future work.
At first I was saddened to see my old friends go, but after re-reading the entire manuscript, it is evident that myself and the readers are the beneficiaries of a much tighter story that moves it into the turn paging story I envisioned in the first place.
So no matter what you are writing, read a few pages and honestly ask yourself… How did those pages push the plot and the reader closer to the conclusion?