Sometimes I reach a point in a story where I'm not sure whether or not I'm keeping a character around because I've become attached to him, or if he really play a crucial role in the rest of the plot. Like Joe in my current work in progress (name has been changed to protect the direction of the story he he). Should Joe live, die, or just be horribly maimed?
As someone who writes by the seat of my pants, I truly don't know the end result until I'm almost there. So I have a lot of "go with your gut" moments. But sometimes my gut is more of last night's spicy dinner than true creative genius. And if I kill someone off too early in a story, that's a helluva lot of work in second draft to re-write him in.
Also, if I meander around the story just doing make-work projects for Joe until I find his purpose, that's a helluva lot of deleting later.
I think I need to meditate Joe's existence ... probably while in a bubble bath.