I am taking a break from Kitty and Stacia to let them stew for a while before I return to the manuscript after the first of the year with fresh eyes. In the meantime, I am sketching out two other novels and trying to flay a few short stories into shape.
I have been cutting “Vintage” down to be a flash fiction piece (less than 1000 words). I am amazed at how how much you can cut out of a story and still have it be cohesive. Of course, I lost a whole scene where the main character goes into town and meets people and makes connections. I really liked that scene but, in the end, it wasn’t essential.
I recommend writing a very short piece as an exercise to force yourself to get down to the essential elements of a story. Even if you can’t get under 1000 words, it makes you focus.