As a scriptwriter, I’ve learned the value of editing scenes–particularly when developing short commercial spots.
You’ve got 30 seconds to grab the viewers’ attention and convey a story. Every. Word. Counts. You end up leaving out scenes you think were really great and cutting lines you thought were important.
Then, the spot airs, it’s effective, and you realize it’s better for having been whittled down from the original.
If we apply this to novel writing, it makes us better writers, and our manuscripts stronger. What we think is “essential” is often just part of us, as authors, fleshing out our characters and stories. This is part of the process of building a story with layers, and characters with depth. HOWEVER…less is more totally applies here. If a scene can be cut without affecting the MC, then you should probably cut and paste that baby in your archives, or cut file.
Try it out—it probably makes your MS move faster, and thereby, more interesting.