Something I’ve noticed in my own writing, I cling to phrases I’ve written in rough draft. Even as I flesh out a half-baked scene or idea, add dialog, or break a scene in two. I don’t want to change anything already written. Most times revisions screw with the flow of a plot thread.
“Walk softly, don’t disturb the sleeping mountain lion.” He was a newcomer to our wilderness.
“I’ve been here before. I know the dangers,” he replied.
Between those two sentences I added:
Mountain lions are tricky creatures, asleep when you think them awake, awake when they should be asleep. Sort of like my old mentor Samuel. I never knew when he’d pounce on one of my practice sessions and break my concentration so I’d have to start all over again. Oh how I missed the old man. He also taught me look deep within my visions for the Truth.
Um, I had to move all but the first sentence of that paragraph. It adds nothing to the tension between my two characters. It digresses. But the raw grief for Samuel’s death is there. It just needs to go elsewhere. With the adrenaline flowing while tracking someone, the constant ache of grief would abate. The memory goes elsewhere.
By the 3rd or 4th draft I can lose my attachment to every single word I’ve already written. Still, some out of place sentences persist. I have to move or change that line of dialog that shows a lot of characterization or adds a telling bit of research (an info dump usually gets lost) because it disrupts the entire flow of the scene. Just adding a few words to the next sentence can help. Not always.
You may have heard the phrase “Kill your little darlings!” Those darlings are beautiful, meaningful words and phrases. At best you might find a better place for them. At worst they need to be trashed.
Get used to it.