(illustration from www.milimbo.com)
The creation of stories is filled with traps. It's the hazards of a literary life. Sometimes your characters run away from you. Sometimes the story decides to shut down far before you've finished. And then other times you simply sink into the pages of your own writing, fighting against words that threaten to pull you under.
This past week I started writing a chapter in a the new novel I've been working on, and from the outset, I had a feeling that the chapter was leading me in the wrong direction. I decided to go with it anyway. I figured I'd let it play out and see where it went. Eventually it led to the right place, but the four pages that preceded it still weren't working. So the other day I made the choice to cut those pages and just open the chapter at the point where the story felt like it was getting back on schedule. It turned out to be the right choice and things have been progressing nicely since then.
The deleted section was well written, but you have to learn to make the tough choices when writing. It's a cutthroat process. Show no mercy and you'll benefit from it. That's what I've learned recently. Let's hope it continues to pay off.