When writing, how brutal should you be with your story and characters? Very brutal.
I've already dispatched one character to the scrapheap, though she may be resurrected for the follow up novels. Now, I'm about to relegate another one to the semi-background.
Why? I've finally discovered where the main conflict lies and who the two main protagonists are. From now, I shall be looking at the story through their eyes, whilst the relegated character acts as a conscience to one of the other two.
It all makes the story easier to tell, less complex to write and I can get my head around it.
Complex stories need time to develop and tell properly. Unpublished authors don't have that much time as there's work to do in order to pay bills and eat.
Be brutal, keep it simple.