"Try to rip out the first half of your story; you'll only have to change the beginning of the second half a little bit and the story will be totally comprehensible. And in general there ought to be nothing unnecessary. Everything that has no direct relation to the story must be ruthlessly thrown out."
Chekhov to S. Shchukin.
I am mulling over this and wondering if this good advice can be applied to my novel...and decide that it can't.