Art by Fernando Vicente
It's scary to go by your gut when you hardly have experience writing and consider yourself a rookie and tend to look up to the masters and doubt your every decision and agonize, agonize, agonize. You really start to bloom when you stop agonizing, and you don't stop agonizing until you learn to trust your gut. And that is very hard. How can you trust it when there are all these other writers who know better? You think they know better because they've been writing longer than you, they wrote more books than you, better books than you, and so on. You can drive yourself crazy thinking these thoughts.
I'm certainly nowhere near trusting my gut fully yet, but it comes in waves and it happens more often. The latest test of that trust is happening right now in the shape of me hacking and slashing and cutting and ripping at the second draft of TUBE whilst making it into Draft 3, which is resulting in prose that is so lean and minimal and bony that it makes me scared, and yet somewhere in the darkest farthest corners of my gut I feel that what I'm doing is right.
I have noticed that by giving away less of the story I make my reader fill in the details and rejoice at being part of the guessing game. That reader is me, as I'm in the one reading the draft as I write it, but that reader is happy.
The things I'm cutting are so many I won't be able to put them all in here for you, but I'll put in a few, those that made the biggest impression on me by their absence.
1. Dialogue tags.
3. Character descriptions.
4. Thoughts and feelings.
5. Fancy words.
Full post (with elaborations on the points above) is here.