Characters aren’t meant to have a quiet life in fiction! You wouldn’t read a quiet book, would you? Do you know your characters’ individual stress levels? There’s many a tale to be told showing where characters crack and the consequences of that cracking.
What secrets do your characters have? Who else knows them? Who could find them out if they suspected anything was up? Corruption exists in any world, why not your fantasy one?
How do your characters relax? Who do they relax with?!! Are there sports/hobbies your fantasy world encourages (and why) or disapproves of (and why)? And are there pets of any kind? If not, why not?
I’ve learned to cut more as I’ve written more. You get a better feel for what is relevant and what isn’t. I enjoy the editing process, especially as you sense your story becoming tighter, better and the waffle comes out (and there’s always some!).
Creating and Editing
It is important to let yourself write and then let yourself edit and treat the two as two separate tasks. You don’t want your editing side to get in the way of your creative side. And the things you cut might work their way into future stories if good enough. Stick to the point of your story, always. I edit, and edit, and edit. First edit is to get rid of repetition, including all unnecessary adjectives. Second edit is to look at the plot as a whole. Does it work? Is anything missing? By the time I get to a third read through and edit, I can usually spot where I can tighten the novel up further. At that point I think about sending it off somewhere!
Over time I’ve got into a routine of writing in the evenings (I’m more than happy to give up TV) and stick to it. My brain slips into “writing time” as I sit at my desk at roughly the same time each night. I schedule in my writing time so all my jobs are done during the day as I’m one of those people who can’t relax enough to write if I’ve anything outstanding. It does bug me! And above all I keep going. Persistence is a virtue!
I write novels long-hand and then use the typing up as my first edit. I usually manage to get rid of repetition during this process. I didn’t plan my first novel out in detail, it kind of evolved over time, but now I do work out plot details first. Does that stifle creativity? I don’t think so. I’ve found it triggers ideas and I can work out which of these I can use and where I can put them into my novel before actually writing it. It helps me not to go off the tangent and a plan helps me see gaps so I can then fill them in so I don’t write myself into a corner.