A project I am working on has over 88,000 words. You would believe I should be happy to have written so much, right? That’s true only in some part. It does gives me satisfaction to have churned out so many words. However, the goal is not to write lots, the goal is to write interesting stuff. Which leads me to my learning for the day: you need to cut without remorse. Let me explain.
It’s inevitable that we write about events that have made an impression on us. But ask yourself, does this add value to your story? If it is extraneous and is not contributing adequately, just knock it off!
Likewise, it is tempting to include a favourite piece of dialogue or a gag that sounds good to you. By itself that gag may be a knock out, but again ask yourself the same question. Does it add value to your story? If it does, great. if not, delete the damn thing.
I notice that I have some favourite expressions: words and phrases that magically appear whenever I write. This is due to sheer habit. Ask yourself, do you have such pet phrases? Can they be replaced with better ones? Do they sound repetitive?
Lastly, the deal is to give your reader an interesting read, especially if you write thrillers like I do. The idea is not to write about all that you know or have researched. To make your story more crisp and punchy, go ahead and cut without remorse.