The Second Draft is Country Music
I don’t like writing rough drafts. I’m not really sure why. I think it might be all the frustration. Facing the blank page is intimating, no matter how many times I’ve been there. I know that frustration is unavoidable, and even necessary, if you want unique characters and plot. But that is all behind me now, and I’m now in the middle of my favorite part of writing a book.
I like writing second drafts, when my characters are alive and my story has a beginning, middle, and an end. I love having something to work with, because something, even if it is terrible, is better than a blank page. There’s satisfaction in finding the perfect word and rearranging sentences and paragraphs. It’s like this huge puzzle where everything has its perfect spot and until I find it, it just doesn’t feel right. But when I do, it makes me smile. It makes me happy to see it all take shape.
I work on one printed out chapter at a time . No matter what, I don’t rush through a chapter. If the first draft is heavy metal: wrote without restraint, fast, hard, loud, bad, get your ideas on the page! then the second draft is more like country music: the pace is more laid back – I can hear the lyrics, hear the story – slow dance with my characters. I move on to the next chapter after I can’t find anything else to change, or I get crossed-eyed and start overanalyzing.
I have to make difficult decisions along the way. I have to cut entire paragraphs that don’t move the story forward and cut ideas that I thought were clever because they don’t work elsewhere. It is especially difficult for me to cut because I struggle with story length. However, my story is always always better after changes, and so I have to trust myself and trust the process.
So to me, working on the second draft of a novel is like two-stepping through a rhythmic maze with smiles along the way to the big reward at the end: an “almost” finished novel. (There are still a couple of drafts to go.)
So until the third draft …
Love and Laughter,