I am frontloading!
A mentor advised me, on the novel project before this one, that I should "frontload." I dutifully attempted this, but felt like I was simply dumping information in. Now, having written an entire draft and seeing what the reader might need to know, I think I have achieved a more functional and integrated understanding of this technique.
After my first round of big cuts, I've been almost exclusively working on the first three chapters of the draft, removing scenes in which not much happened and replacing them with ones that give information relevant to future events. I think what I'm doing might be similar to what papersky refers to as "incluing." And I think this is good! It feels less like reading rambling ideas and more like reading a novel!
I am pleased that I have learned something. Live it, learn it, love it.
I hope I learn other new things once I get past these chapters.