The publication draft of Railroad to Zanzibar is the third draft. Between drafts two and three, I added an enormous subplot to the first half. I’m inserting a series of scenes devised around it, and revising existing material in light of it. In the chapter I’m working on, the emotional import of an added sequence would have made the tone of the subsequent scenes, as written, nonsensical. Sometimes I’m up for changing the older scenes, but in this case, I really liked them and also needed them where they were.
After much agonizing and head-scratching, I realized I could get what I needed from the new scene without the cud-chewing after the pivotal event. And it was the cud-chewing, not the event, that was causing the tone problem.
I write too much by nature. I need to remember to consider “write less” as a possible solution to problems.