My worst writing week ever was the week I had to trash thousands of words–words I’d labored over and fallen in love with.

My critique group was reading Unleashed. For the most part, they liked it. But they had some concerns. The biggest one was my heroine’s behavior where relationships were concerned. On again, off again. She will, she won’t, she will, ad infinitum.

My readers weren’t rooting for my heroine; they were pitying my hero. Not exactly what you’re shooting for in a romance. The central love affair can’t be subjected to a lot of artificial stops and starts. Everything else can be slapstick and screwball, but love is serious. There’s nothing funny about heartbreak.

So I had to change a lot of scenes, and delete a few as well. Good scenes. Love scenes, in many cases, which are easy to grow attached to. One of the hardest things about being a writer is cutting. I don’t know where good writing comes from, but it seems almost mystical when your fingers start flying over the keyboard and the images and dialogue flow from your mind to the page. Something so mystical must be significant, right? So how can you throw it away?

You close your eyes, you take a deep breath, and you press that delete key.

And when you’re done, you’re a better writer, and you’ve written a much better book.