Second Drafts

by , Saturday February 23, 2019
Second Drafts

I recently finished the second draft for Day 723 and thought I'd share my process with you all.

This is the first time that I've seriously picked up a Nanowrimo project with the intent of drafting it properly. I'm not talking the general sweep over, no I'm talking the whole revamp. First, I read back through the whole 56,000 words, I cringed at some parts and clapped myself on the back for some very poetic sentences. I found that I misspelt Daniel's name so many times into Danish - I must have been hungry when I wrote it. Then I rewrote it, not completely, but I put the old document on one half of my screen and a new document on the other. I, therefore, started the long process of writing out sentences, sometimes it was nearly word for word but others it was new content. 

Rewriting allowed me to realise which bits didn't flow well or were just not necessary at all. There were sentences that were in a passive voice where the object came before the subject (it helped that the word 'was' came as a quick identifier for the passive voice). 

For example phrases like: 

"The bowl was pushed further into her arms as she shielded it, protecting her food for herself."

Were replaced with: 

"Thea pushed the bowl further into her arms, this way she could protect her food and she did not miss the look Daniel threw her way when he noticed the action."

I had a rough checklist of things that I wanted to improve: 

  • Highlight and implement areas that need to be cut or elaborated on eg Soma's friends and background. 
  • Highlight and fix plot holes eg the different identities and the Nothingness big showdown.
  • Ensure that character arcs are well thought out eg develop Daniel and implementation of cooking, Daniel and Marlene's friendship. 
  • Themes to run throughout the novel.
  • Passive Voice check. 
  • Showing not telling the narrative - can I picture the scenes like a movie?
  • Basic grammar fixes, sentencing, pacing, spelling and overused words. 

Then I set a goal through the use of Nanowrimo's goal tracker and wrote my progress in my journal each day. I wanted to up the word count to about 60,000 words and achieve it in about a month. I picked a time each day to sit and write (around about 1 in the afternoon until about 3) and developed a routine that helped keep me going. This is what my progress looked like:

I completed my second draft in about twenty-four days and with a finished word count of 64,000. I noticed that in some cases I could get in the zone and whack out 5,000 words in one go. In other cases, I found myself aimlessly copying paragraphs across the documents just to get onto the next chapter. This was not a good thing, because I just read over those paragraphs instead of rewriting and checking them. When that happened I had to save the document, turn my laptop off and have a breather. Taking a break is good for the soul.

One thing I learned though is that editing is tedious. It's hardly enjoyable because you're just printing large quantities of text until you find something to change and write. But it is rewarding. 

When I finished I felt relieved and victorious, the elation of finishing the second draft was even on par with finishing the first. I decided to leave it there terrified that I would nitpick and rewrite it into something unrecognisable. I've therefore started to publish it here again and feedback is appreciated. 

It's not perfect, nothing ever is for me, but it is something better And that is the main thing. At least I've tried and achieved something utterly new from my normal write it and leave it routine.

I hope this has helped in some way, and maybe you'll be looking for these things the time editing rolls around for you. 



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