The following is a post from David Webb, TWA #5 competitor. He wrote an awesome story called Going Cheap, which you should definitely read. In this post he talks about killing his favorite scenes to make a story work better.
4500 words is not nearly as much room as you think. It’s actually just enough to tell a story. The problem is that there’s always more story than the word count allows and some of these things have to be cut if the story is to survive.
The saddest thing about that part of the process is that I always end up cutting my favourite bits.
Everything I wrote on Tuesday night was cut. It was a good bit where Rex and Adam have lunch with a couple of rising stars. Originally I thought it might be a giggle to feature Anton LaVey. Dennis Wheatley and Aleister Crowley. LaVey was a rising star in the 1960s, Wheatley was very much part of the occult fiction establishment and Crowley was dead. My research turned up a couple of issues with Wheatley being in league with Satan, so I dropped him. Crowley being dead didn’t seem like it would slow him down at all, but for the sake of it I decided he would turn up at the end to heckle Rex (only to be dismissed with the line “Shut up, Aleister, you’re dead.”) I replaced Wheatley with Henry Kissinger, who would have been just about to start his own rise fo worldwide fame in 1960, and wasn’t too worried about casting him as a man who had also sold his soul to the Devil. David Ike claims Kissenger is/was a Satanist, which is all the proof you’ll need to decide he wasn’t/isn’t.
So it was a nice little scene with Henry talking with Crowley about elites and the likelihood of an East End lad being allowed to join them., and I cut it. For one thing, Anton didn’t get any lines. The scene failed to advance the plot. There were much more important things to have happening and the scene took up almost a thousand precious words. It had to go. Crowley can steal the spotlight another time.
Something else to go was Penelope. Lord Sweet’s PA and life organizer was brutally cut and left abandoned in the palatial Sweet Residence. I wanted to hint at a paternal relationship between her and Adam, and to contrast his humble beginnings with the place he ends up living in, but there simply wasn’t space for it. Penelope will resurface elsewhere, I am sure.
This is what first drafts are for. My little ensemble cast did their audition pieces, fretted their hour upon the stage, and are gone. At least for now.