I'm curious, how often do the authors here remove chapters which don't work, or trash complete subplots that don't go anywhere? Does anyone do this, and does it occur very often? If so, what kinds of things have you removed (examples please). It'll help the rest of us wrestle with similar issues.
In my case, I don't do it often, but I have deleted complete chapters, as well as combining and splitting chapters, so my chapter counts tend to vary over time. Since I write my stories ahead of time, I go back and revise the story, so any subplots which don't work, or which aren't 'realized', get handled during that process, while I'm reviewing the entire story.
As far as deleting chapters, it's been a while, so I can't really remember the details, but there was an interesting chapter in Catalyst involving Alex visiting a summer camp where he encounters a camp councilor who was attracted to him, and figures out how to explain what he does to her (camp) kids.
But now matter how I worked it, the entire chapter was incredibly slow, ponderous, and just didn't pan out, so I trashed the entire 1-chapter subplot (she was supposed to set up a camp to train Alex's followers and the children of his followers).
In my most recent story, the story started slow and it took until chapter 4 until the reader finally found out what the story conflict was. After struggling with it, I finally reorganized the chapters, having him reflecting on what he faced in the first chapter (previous chapter 4).