Monday, July 18, 2011

What's in Your Second Draft?

Welcome to Monday! Did I just hear some grumbling? Yeah, me, too.

As a quick follow-up to last week's Publicity Primer, I found a site that takes you through putting your blog on Networked Blogs step-by-step: It only takes a few minutes, so why not!

Also, author J.A. Kazimer will be offering a free Write Brain workshop tomorrow night, Tuesday, July 19th, from 6:30 to 8:30, located at the Falcon Police Station here in Colorado Springs (North Academy). If you're in Colorado, I'm betting this will be an awesome workshop! I was looking forward to going and passing on some helpful tidbits, but my son will be doing a karate demonstration before our local baseball team's game (Sky Sox), and I can't miss that. There will be a writing exercise, so don't forget to bring paper and a pencil.

I was visiting some blogs yesterday and I happened across someone saying how they always had to go back in on their second draft to add a little something in. That started me thinking about how I have to go back through to add emotional details and mushy inter-relationship traits, because those things don't come automatically for me. Romance fits in there, as well. This person had to go through to flesh out details, which I don't have a problem with in the first draft. In fact, I usually have to edit out some details, because I can sometimes put too many in since I'm playing the scene in my head and want to make sure I get it all down at first.

I know for a lot of people the second draft involves a lot of paring down, rather than adding words, but that makes me wonder if there is anything those same people need to add in, despite already having what may be considered too many words.

So tell me, what gets added in your second draft that doesn't just come naturally for you? Do you typically have to add words or build up your manuscript?

Happy Writing!


  1. Great question!

    For me it is all the words around dialogue--setting, actions, etc. When I write dialogue, I just write the words and rarely include anything more than an occasional said. Writing what the characters are doing while speaking slows me down, and it is easy for me to remember when I go back and add it later, so I don't worry about it during the first draft.

    I always add a lot during the second draft. Later drafts involve cutting, and I usually end up with almost the exact same word count I started with--just a lot of different words/scenes.

    The workshop sounds interesting! I can't make it down to the Springs today, but let us know how it goes!

  2. In my first draft of my first WIP, there was a sex scene that I knew had to be in the book and I just didn't write it the way it needed to be written because it didn't come naturally to me. I managed to get it together for the second draft though.

  3. This was very interesting and good to read. Thanks for sharing it,


  4. I'm kind of the opposite. I have to got through and add all the details of the world on my second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth drafts. I'm better with character and plot than I am with world-building. Not a good trait when I write fantasy. :(

  5. Great post, Shannon. I'm blogging something similar to this tomorrow. For me, I write a fairly clean first draft. But only because I obsess like crazy over finding the right word, the perfect sentence, the right bit of dialogue, etc. Yeah, it's crazy. Makes for slower writing/word count. But it's the way I do it.

    Second draft? I look for word repeats, ways I can cut/clean up sentences & make 'em read smoother. By then I also know my characters a WHOLE lot better than I did at the start of the novel, so their little quirks come out in added action tags to dialogue and what-not.

  6. My second drafts, so far, have mostly centered on the vocal quality of the work. Some things sound okay in your head, but they are awkward to say out loud.

  7. Heidi, I have to fill in details around the dialogue the first edit, as well. I wish I could fill you in, but I have to miss it!

    M.J., oh yes, I imagine a sex scene will be something second draft for me, for sure.

    Yvonne, thank you for coming by and reading it!

    L.G., I figure as long as the world building occurs, it doesn't matter which draft it's in.

    Alyssia, oh very true that one knows the characters better as they edit. I can say that I will look up words, pull out the dictionary/thesaurus, and agonize over a word the first time through, too.

    Aurora, oh, definitely grammar! Though, added to what I said to Alyssia, I also pull out the good ol' Bedford Handbook during that first draft to check on things I'm unsure about.

    Andrew, I read out loud after I do the second draft, and things definitely sound different when said out loud. I've also heard repeatedly that it's even clearer if you hand someone else your work and have them read it to you. I discovered that firsthand during a Read & Critique. :/

  8. I would agree with you on having someone else read it to me, but it's so hard to find anyone that's a competent reader.

  9. Oh, I definitely agree. I love my husband to death, but I'd never have him read, and I feel weird about asking anyone else, really. For now, it will have to be just me. But I figure if someone else can do it, more power to them! It was shocking to hear my words in someone else's voice at the R&C, and I instantly found something I'd been doing wrong. I will say, though, that my first Beta reader had already mentioned it.