Replying to this question with an honest degree of emphasis would require me to use words that this site does not encourage. Blade of Tyshalle is 300,000(!) words long. The reason it is so long is that it did fly out of control, and it did indeed require extensive revision (much of which was done without benefit of editorial input, in the simple process of trying to beat the damned thing into a coherent narrative before I delivered it). There is a whole 'nother book of equal length, or maybe more, that consists of scenes and chapters I cut out of that book because I just couldn't make them work. It is the same with Caine Black Knife -- the material that didn't make the final cut is longer than the book itself. Now, with CBK, some of the deleted scenes will be resurrected for the follow-up, His Father's Fist; the stuff I cut out of BLADE is just gone forever, and it should be. It was cut for good reason. See, the problem is that as my narrative skills have developed, it's become ever more possible for me to beat a [crummy] sequence into something that works, at least more or less. Sometimes a sequence is just [bloody] AWESOME . . . like my original version of the introduction of a certain major character in CBK (and HFF), which contained the single coolest fight scene I've ever written, and which I had to cut because as the story developed, the scene just didn't make any [damned] sense. See, the answer to your question is that there is no answer to your question. Sometimes you can tell when material has to be discarded, because it's premised on plot points you've also had to discard. Sometimes it has to be discarded for more nebulous, intuitive reasons. For example, there was an entire chapter of BoT that consisted of Caine manipulating Studio politics to get himself transferred to Overworld to find Deliann and bring him back to Earth . . . which culminated in Deliann and Duncan and Tan'elKoth playing a three-way Angel on My Shoulder sequence as each tries to talk Hari into following different strategies for dealing with HRVP. This had to be cut for two reasons: The minor reason: It brought the action to a screeching halt, and would force the reader to sit through fifty pages of Guys Arguing About What To Do Next (which, btw, over the course of a month or so of tinkering, I managed to make pretty engaging nonetheless -- see that line about the development of my narrative skills above) The major reason: by this time in the story, everybody's aching to see Hari be Caine again, crippled or not; to have him go to Overworld then come back to Earth, only turn around and go again . . . It just felt wrong. When he finally went to Overworld, he needed to go full-commitment, [gonads]-to-the-wall, no turning back. Because that's who he is. Sometimes you have to throw stuff out because you just have to throw it out. In the words of one of my mentors, Perry Glasser: "You have to learn to be ruthless with your own writing." And that's the only answer there is.