Monday, January 09, 2006

Second Drafts

Second drafts. Could be from the air conditioning. Or maybe that was dinner.

No one tells you when you finish the first draft of your first novel how hard the second draft is going to be. I've read a couple of handfuls of books on writing and it's not something that's touched on in any kind of detail. I suppose that each writer has their own personal way of going about writing, their own process. Covering that in a text is like trying to explain the entire human mind in one chapter.

It's a slog, that second draft. I'm about half way through it, maybe less, judging by my notes.

After I finished the first draft I went at it with a big red pen, noting minor and major problems. As I read, I also kept a short list of the major structural elements I planned on changing when I plunged into the next part of the process.

That list keeps growing.

At first it was a page of numbered items. Then I added a few plot points at the bottom as notes. As I worked, I kept thinking of extra things that really do need to be done. Location changes, character changes, plot changes. Research.

Now I have three full pages of numbered issues to sort out.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and feel tired just thinking about it. About how much work I have to do.

That's a problem that's easy to solve, though. You put your blinkers on (not like a car, like a horse) and focus on the task at hand. Break it down into small points.

If you can knock off a couple of those in a day, you're well on your way. If you can edit a couple of chapters tonight, everything's gonna be alright.

That's enough singing. Back to work.

4 comments:

Tribe said...

Sounds to me like you're doing exactly what you should be doing with a second draft. Now, if I could only get that first draft...

Daniel Hatadi said...

Thanks, it's nice to get some external confirmation that I'm not going totally bonkers.

Keep at it, Mr. Tribe.

Mary said...

You've got a really good way at looking at your work and how to approach it. I think your first novel will be a great read!

Daniel Hatadi said...

Thanks babe, can't wait to read it myself. :)