The fine points of a polish…..how many French words to use? Are the names of the two main characters–these taken from history–too close: Louis and Louise? Use her first name? Francoise? But in history, she is known as Louise de la Valliere. Does it matter? Who knows? Who cares?
The clipping back of characters–who to leave in? The lovely, lovely, shaping of words and description to make flesh on the bones of the story. (Scenes are the bones of a story.) Sometimes, it is such fun. After the inner high drama (mine) of simply trying to shape the story, to make one scene that leads to another, that leads to story climax and then ending, it’s lovely to relax into the fleshing out, like painting a room a good color, the details that will take the reader back in time and give him or her a sense of the characters’ lives, what they cared about, what they saw when they walked into a room, a bit, just a bit, of their world view.
Scenes themselves. If they don’t propel the story, they have to be broken apart, sometimes abandoned, sometimes new ones written. It’s hard for a writer to edit or abandon words she labored over months ago, but it has to be done, ruthlessly and artfully, to make the story move.