Isn't it hard to part with those sentences that you worked so hard to make perfect and then discovered they had no place in your story?
It's possible I have a problem parting with my revisions. After all, I do have a folder labeled "cuts" where nearly everything but typos goes to die. I'm so positive I'll need those perfect sentences again. I've even convinced myself that I'll remember the exact context and placement. Never mind that they're all pasted to one document, separated by a string of asterisks. I'll find it if I need it, right?
Does anyone else have this problem? Perhaps there's a 3 or 4 step process to go through when letting go of your text. If it's more than 5 steps, I'll just keep the folder.
Number 1 is the biggie. Unless it's relevant to your story/character/plot/setting, cut it. I'm a huge stickler with this one. It's probably one of the reasons why my descriptions are more along the lines of "She's in a dress, leaning on a table under a window. It's sunny." (Not that awful, mind you.) Economic writing is often the most effective because the pacing adds to the tension. Unless a word/paragraph/whole-freaking-scene adds to a story, cut it loose and dump it. You'll probably never need it again.
When I revise, I copy and paste the entire document (or I just save as), so I keep the old draft, and the new draft. Plus, I have printed copies of all my drafts. This isn't because I feel like I might come back and realize just how awesome that one sentence is, this is because when I revise I change every word. Not even joking. There is not a single sentence of the current version of The First Nine that's the same as the first draft. Even the title is different.
Everyone always says you should cut from your first draft and it makes it better. For me? That doesn't work. I add. I don't mean to. It just happens. I added 40,000 words to The First Nine between the first and second draft. But because of this, I need to keep the old draft to reference. I don't think it means you can't let go. I think it means you understand that holding onto what used to be can help you sometimes. I know there are times when I have a problem in the new draft, but I've deleted the old scene and can't remember something. So what do I do? I reference the old draft.
Writing is a part of who you are, and just because a sentence you're proud of writing doesn't make it into the final cut doesn't mean you can't keep it. Just means that story couldn't use it. Maybe somewhere else can, or it's a good line you can look through and read sometimes to remember how the old draft used to be.