Have you left something out of your story that would be vital in moving the plot forward or filling out a character’s personality? Or maybe you don’t miss whatever you left out and never noticed it was gone.
While getting furniture ready for a Salvation Army pick-up, I discovered two cell phones, a quarter, a 3-D picture of a blue eyeball, a pink marker, and an opinionated sticker made from a label maker in the crevice between the seat and back of a sofa.
Cell phones? Someone must’ve missed those. But the other items were superfluous. Unnecessary. Not needed. How can you tell the difference if something is needed or not in your writing?
One way is to ask questions: Would my characters be justified in their reactions? Is the resolution of the conflict depending on deus ex machina? How does each scene ramp up the story and move the plot forward?
I was surprised at the loot in my sofa. More surprised that no one mentioned they were missing their cell phones! Were they able to function without those devices? I guess they were. But probably not as well, or as completely, than if they had them.