Phew... the past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, without a single word of new material written. So, at the weekend, I put all thoughts of marketing for Cat and the Dreamer on hold and got out my soon-to-be-submitted trilogy of novellas and read them as a whole, and - yay! - they worked. I held my breath, I got goosebumps, I wanted a character to do the opposite to what she was planning. I got caught up in my own stories!
Except for one. The second story in the collection was the first to be written - written eight years ago, to be exact. And as I was reading, I spotted a lot of changes that needed to be made. Even the first sentence, which I thought was spectacular when I first wrote it, now seems dated and cliched. And then, I saw it. I saw the worst piece of writing - a whole section that I'd shoehorned in, because I needed to get my character from C to D.
Out came my red pen, and... my darlings are gone - all 2000 of them. Murdered, slashed... gone :-(
Deleting words is not usually something I do. Not because they're all good, you understand. But because my work is usually shorter than I'm hoping and I spend a lot of time increasing the word count.
Currently there's nothing instead - just a big gaping hole in the plot. In this section, the MC has to lose her job, introduce another character to the guy she likes, watch them flirt and then have an argument with him. It sounds easy enough, doesn't it? But the spectre of the old version is lingering. Even though I'm sitting down with a completely blank piece of paper, with my beautiful fountain pen poised, I'm struggling for inspiration.
So today's question is: have you ever needed to delete huge swathes of your work, and how did you fill the hole it left behind?