Test That Scene – Cut or Revise?

Category: Writing Craft, Revising

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A month ago I wrote a post called Test That Scene – Is It Essential or Filler? The basics of it are this:

No Filler Test

Question #1 – If deleted, will the reader still be able to follow the story? If yes, you’ve got filler!

Question #2 – What is different by the end of this scene? If nothing, it’s filler!

Question #3 – What/Who does this scene affect? If nothing/nobody, it’s – you guessed it – filler!

If even one of these questions results in “filler”, the scene should be cut or revised. But how do you know which option to choose?

That’s the issue I’ve encountered as I write and revise the outline for my WIP. I never create totally inessential scenes, and if a scene is two-thirds of the way there (i.e. satisfies two of the three test questions), my instinct is to revise not cut. Sounds reasonable, right? Sure, but I found my story dragging anyway. If I’d revised them into fully fleshed-out essential scenes, why did they still feel like filler?

To find out, click here and read the full post on Writeonsisters.com.