How to go from first draft to second draft.

A book on Kindle

I’m deep into it now! After finally finishing my first draft, I’m now working on my second draft and, amazingly, things are going ok! Thing is, when I started the second draft, it wasn’t going ok because, well, I have no clue what I’m doing!

Honestly, I sat there, my first draft open on the screen and stared at it, no clue what to do, what to look for, where to start or anything. It’s not something I’ve ever done before, so I was a little lost. Time for a nice cup of tea!

A simple cup of tea.

Ahhhh, that’s better!

You can never go wrong with a cup of tea. Trust me on this, I’m English, after all. Anyway, the tea helped, calmed me down a little and gave me a chance to think as I let it cool in my hands. This was when I realised that to work out what to do next, I had to do something really scary. I had to re-read what I’d written. After all, I can’t work out what to change or fix if I didn’t read it again.

Now, this was scary for me because the last time I read it all was a few months after I finished the NaNoWriMo project. I took a break for a month or so and then read it all again. This helped me to understand just how bad it was!

I mean, it wasn’t, really. It was, but I’ve come to understand now that of course it was, it was a fast-written first draft with very little thought going into it! That was the whole point of doing a second draft, after all!

Anyway, having decided to re-read it I came up with a plan. This time around, I would go in with a more critical mind set. I would read it a chapter at a time, look closely at what I had written and work out what I thought was wrong with it. And I would take notes. lots of notes. LOOOOOOTTTSSSS of notes!

Man holding a notepad

Obviously, I didn’t do it with an actual notepad. (Although some of the most successful writers out there have done it that way, just ask any Harry Potter fan!) No, I sat at my computer and wrote lots of notes as I read through it.

So far, it’s going well! I’ve spotted a lot of inconsistencies in things like names, places, characterisation and more. I’ve seen parts that didn’t make sense and need to be re-written, I’ve also thought of a lot of new ideas and sub-stories that I want to add to it all and worked out some of the best places for them to fit in. I also remembered one of the golden rules for writing, “Show, Don’t Tell!” and realised that I’ve done that a bit too often in places, something I can definitely sort out in the second draft!

I’ve made a few minor changes here and there as well. Changed some funky grammar, some spelling mistakes that weren’t caught by spell check, used Find/Replace to make sure names are consistent throughout, that sort of thing, also added a few lines here and there. The bulk of the new stuff will be added later, however.

Second

I’ve also come to understand that I’ve been more of a Seat-Of-My-Pants writer, probably due to the NaNoWriMo origin of it all. I didn’t really plot out much in advance of starting out, all those years ago, and onlyย  created a few notes as I went along. I definitely wasn’t the type of writer who methodically plots out their work first, I leave that to the likes of Jon Ford and his infamous Spreadsheet Of Doom! ยฎย 

I can, however, see the advantages to working that way. I don’t think I’ll ever be the full on plotting type, I’m not even sure my kind of writing would need it that much, but I do think my next book (yes, I do have plans for lots more!) will be much more organised before I start.

As I write this, I’m currently about 30% of the way through reading it and making notes. If you want to track my progress, you can see how it’s going on the Katie G page, or, just follow me on all the usual social media pages, all linked above!

Who knows, I might even have the second draft done by the end of the year!

 

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