In order to get to the heart of the story, the darlings have to go. Mixed metaphors, I know. But I can't "kill my darlings" - not necessarily because I can't let them go, but because there aren't many of them in the book. There are some good sentences, uses of language which I will keep. These are based on my own sense of what is working and what isn't, as well as feedback from writing friends and writing group partners. But I'm not finding that many of them. If they're not working, then they're not "darlings," right?
And I've already written about getting to the heart of the story. You know. Daily heart practice. Vertical reading. Finding the power, truth, energy. There's been a new development in that arena, which I will save for a little later; it's too new to share and the work is being integrated.
So right now I'm looking for those nuggets to keep. I'm taking the manuscript and whittling it down to the armature, or the outline, or whatever it turns out to be. There is energy and humor and entire stories missing. And feelings. Yes, feelings missing; except for one story where the absence is deliberate, though I need to work on firming up other parts of that chapter so that it doesn't look like sloppy or unskilled writing.
It's almost like starting over. But not from scratch. From ideas and sketches and new imagery and energy.