“The artist ruthlessly cuts away all the material that is not vital to his story.”
Tilden’s advice (admittedly interdisciplinary) is addressed to interpreters (a rather interdisciplinary occupation, now that I think of it). But it has other parallels. Writers of fiction, seeking clarity and (perhaps) brevity, are urged to cut words. They have the luxury (well, I see it as a luxury; interpreters and performance artists might disagree) of murdering their darlings in private, not while performing for and interacting directly with an audience, but the principle is the same. And I can’t help but think of appraisal. I imagine Mr. Tilden would approve of weeding one’s newly accessioned collection.