Refining and Deleting
This term refers to improving a literary work by refining its basic content and making the presentation concise. Refining and deleting is a basic process in literary writing. The term was first mentioned in The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons. It means that in producing a literary work, the author should select the right elements from all the material he has, delete unnecessary parts and keep the essence, and write in a concise way to best present what he has in mind and to best suit the styles of writing. It shows that literary creation is a process of constantly striving for perfection in terms of both content and form. This idea had a great impact on the theory of theatrical writing in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Refining means to shape the basic content and structure of a literary work, while deleting means to cut off redundant words or sentences. Once done, the essay will be well structured, with a clear-cut theme. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)
Xie Ai’s essays are ornate in expression yet free of unnecessary sentences or words, with nothing to be deleted. Wang Ji’s writing is concise in style; it sufficiently expresses an idea without the need for using more words. Men of letters like them surely command the art of refining and deleting by using a proper amount of words and expressions. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)