I read something recently about an organizational expert who asked his clients three questions about every item in their closet. Do you love it? Is it flattering? Is it you? If an item of clothing didn't meet all three qualifications, it got tossed.
Now, I went ahead and took a peek at my closet. If I followed his rules I wouldn't have a whole lot to wear. Frankly, it'd be hard to get dressed more than once a week. But I am in the midst of a huge revision of a big book and there is a lot of purging to do. So much is up in the air about the concept and plot right now that I need some guidelines and I am wondering whether I can apply those three questions to every character, plot, subplot, chapter, setting, more.
Do I love it? Like really really love each sentence or character or idea? Does that sentence or scene or character "flatter" or WORK FOR THE BOOK? And is every aspect of the story reflecting who I am and want to be as a writer as I move forward? Maybe these questions will help me figure out what to keep and what to toss as I struggle with this second draft.
How do you decide what stays or goes? In books and in life?