I think the guts of a novel can be broken down into three main categories: Present Action - what's happening now
Backstory/Flashbacks - what's happened in the past that helps you understand what's happening now
Internal Dialogue - what the characters think about this stuff
The problem is that these usually come out in big chunks when I write: ten pages of action followed by three pages of backstory followed by two pages of the character thinking about it.
No one wants to read that.
A first draft has all the parts, but they need to be moved around like you would a Rubik's Cube or one of those number-puzzles where you have to push a piece up to get another piece in place, until they're all sequential or, in this case, balanced and complementary, not just big info-dumps.
During that process, you sometimes have to cut stuff you really, really like. For me, it happens a lot with internal dialogue. I tend to WAY overwrite this on draft. And if I've said the same thing three different ways, no matter how much I like them, two have gotta go.
That's where I am - wrestling with the draft - and probably will be for the next couple weeks.
In news of THE MARK... a few more book blog features (I'd post this stuff in a separate sidebar or something if I knew how. But I don't):
Thanks Kim and Khy!!