If you've established up front that you'll be editing for content, your guest should feel free to stop a response they don't like and restart from the beginning. In that case simply delete the entire section from the end of your question to the start of the final response. But leave enough space between the question and the answer to give a natural pacing to the conversation. The top part of Figure 5 shows the audio waveform with the question and both of the responses. The bottom part shows the waveform after the first response has been deleted.
Figure 5. At top, the failed response is selected. At bottom, it's deleted, closing the gap.
Note how I left some space to create the appropriate pacing. To check your work you should listen to the question and answer just before the one you're editing to make sure that the pacing matches.
It's also important to match the breath sounds. People naturally breathe in before starting a sentence. To create a seamless edit you need to chop between start of the first response and the start of the second response and preserve the breath. The top part of Figure 6 shows just the word selected. If you chop there, you'll get an extra-long pause and possibly an additional breath sound. The proper selection to remove the word is shown in the bottom window.
Figure 6. At top, only the word is selected. At bottom, both the word and its preceding breath are selected.
Always encourage your guest to leave an ample one- or two-second pause before the restated response so that you can easily delete the failed response.
To shorten an interview it's often necessary to remove entire questions or groups of questions. You may also want to do that when you rephrase a question to get a better answer. The top part of Figure 7 shows the interview with the unwanted question highlighted. The bottom part shows the post-operation result.
Figure 7. At the top, I've highlighted a question I want to delete. At the bottom, it's gone.
This type of large edit foreshadows the ethical issues in editing interviews. If you remove a question and answer you can change the meaning of the answers that follow. It's important to retain the integrity of the interview and to present the answers given by your guests in the way the way they intended. Cutting within a question or a response is almost never ethical without the approval of the guest.