I Can Always Fix It Later
When I set out to write my first published novel, China Mountain Zhang, I had a couple of things in mind. I wanted to leave out all the boring parts of my writing--the to-ing and fro-ing, the novel equivalent of standing in line. The result of this is that I would leapfrog entire chunks of Zhang's life. He had a job in China, a kind of internship during his schooling, and then bam, next time we see him he has been back in New York for several months, meaning that he finished his internship, traveled back home, got in touch with his family (who we never much see except for one brief lunch with his mother) found a place to live, yadda yadda.
I think there was a lot of merit in that approach, even though my fourth novel is pretty much about all the things that I just described as skipping in my first novel. But the impulse behind that was the attempt to respect the first law of novel writing, Thou Shalt Not Bore Thy Reader. As I am thrashing my way through the chapter I am writing right now, I have just spent several pages getting one of the characters up the driveway and into the house. In ten pages she has come inside, smoked an illicit cigarette in a bathroom of the house of her ex-husband, and after those ten pages, she has just said good morning to her teen-aged daughter who she hasn't seen in a couple of years.
This could be really important and compelling build-up, or it could be navel gazing. It's been really valuable to me, as I worm my way into this woman's skin. But that doesn't mean it won't bore the reader.
So, I figure I can drop back to my personal rule for how to get through a draft. I can always fix it later. I'll make a comment in the text asking myself to review this when I get to the next draft. And if it feels too slow, I can always edit it way back, right? It's just, sometimes I don't know if I can trust myself to throw stuff out.