It isn't that I go into a writing project assuming that I know exactly what needs to go into the story and what would be superfluous, but it would be accurate to say that I don't go about writing entire chapters without a clear purpose to them. So when the editorial feedback (in this case, from my beta readers) comes back pointing out serious issues that can only be fixed by eliminating entire scenes, events, and characters, there's always a twinge involved.
As I saw it, the most important thing to establish at the beginning of Floodtide was the serious fix that Roz was in. She'd lost her job. She'd lost it in a way that guaranteed she wouldn't be able to get a similar one. She didn't know anyone in the city except people connected with that job. Oh, and did I mention that it's January? She's in a bad place and all the possibilities in front of her look worse. So I started throwing those possibilites at her, one after another. For a chapter and a half. So the reader would understand just how desperate her position was.
The problem? My beta readers didn't realize that the people and events in that chapter and a half were just curveballs being lobbed at my protagonist, they thought they were supposed to pay attention to them and care about them. Oops. And you know? They were right. Once I've tossed Roz out on the street, in the cold, at night, without anything to eat--and once I've given her a slim taste of hope and then snatched it back away from her, it's ok to sum up the rest of it with:
* * *
I walked for a long time after that. I don’t remember how long or where. All I knew was if I stopped walking I’d freeze. I forgot why it was important not to freeze. Walking made it look like I had somewhere to go. That was important, especially at night. I don’t know if it was one night or two. Probably not three. I don’t think I could have kept going that long.
* * *
Now, if you're interested in the contents of the former chapter 2 that no longer exists, I've included some parts of it in my author newsletter this month, which also includes other interesting bonus content, such as my "Who's Who in Alpennia" series, information on upcoming appearances, and notes on what other writing projects I'm working on. You can sign up for it here and back issues are always available.