Jack Heffron in The Writer’s Idea Book, suggests a way to revise by cutting out five details in a chapter or short story. Details could be objects, colors, dialogue, etc. Then add five different details. How has it changed? Are the new details, the right ones? How do details shape a story?
Thomas Wolfe debated with F. Scott Fitzgerald in an exchange of letters. Fitzgerald claimed that “highly selective writers were the real geniuses. Wolfe wrote:
‘You say that the great writer like Flaubert has consciously left out the stuff that Bill or Joe will come along presently and put in. Well, don’t forget, Scott, that a great writer is not only a leaver-outer but also a putter-inner, and that Shakespeare and Cervantes and Dostoevsky were great putter-inners, in fact, than taker-outers….’ ”
Are you a taker-outer or a putter-inner?