I often file sounds and sensations away in my brain to use in future writing. In my trusty spiral notebook, I record experiences, impressions, interesting words, and human characteristics. Do you do this?
Of course, the big challenge is transferring these word-pictures from thought to paper. Sometimes, I try to communicate too much. That's when I have to ask myself, "Does the reader really need to know this?" Curse you, TMI writing.
In my salad days, I imagined that all good stuff must survive revision. Forget plot and story tension, if it sounded pretty, I'd leave it in! Sadly, this practice interfered with pacing and bogged down my readers. Those needless details didn't mean to them what they did to me.
I've since learned to kill my darlings, as Mr. King said in On Writing. Painful? (Acutely, since these are my darlings we're talking about.) Yet so necessary.
Now, if I love something, I'll copy it off before I cut it out. I store the snippets in a notebook where I can always read them~ even if no one else does. So many questions in this post, so little time. Here's one final inquiry: How do you decide what to keep and what to delete?
To kill or not to kill, that is the question . . .