About time I asked a writery question here, for I am still a babe in the woods of that world.
After going through the process of writing my first (trunk) novel, I ended up cutting about 15K words from the rough total of 75K when I did my second draft. I realised there was a whole subplot that really had nothing to do with the story and after cutting it, I had a far shorter novel on my hands, shorter than I'd hoped for. In the end, it wasn't strong enough to go through the hassle of saving, but I learned a lot about my working habits.
This time round, I can see things following the same course. I'm at the 65K mark, heading to a rough of 75K again, but I feel there are sections that don't contribute to the story and will probably get cut. There are other, more interesting and relevant subplots that I've detailed in my notes that I think will make the work stronger once I get round to the second or third draft.
It's kind of depressing to think that all that work ends up being wasted, but I can't see myself solving the problem in the future by advance plotting or outlining. I just know I'll ditch sections that don't work and substitute new ones that fit.
I remember reading an interview with Jennifer Weiner where she said she only uses about half the first draft, so I'm glad that I'm not cutting quite that much, but it's still painful.
Anyone else care to share their pain? How do you Real McCoy writers do it, year in, year out? I know there's no secret, it's just arse-in-chair, but please do share anyway. Inquiring minds and all that jazz.