IWSG – Second Drafts

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, when the

IWSG Badge…founded by Alex J Cavanaugh, blog about their hopes, dreams and fears. If you want to join this merry band of writers Click here to add your name to the list…
The awesome co-hosts for this month are; Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson!

I’ve probably bent too many people’s ears on this subject lately, so this is my final whinge, I’ll write it out of my system and then get on with it.

Second draft. Uuurgh. I often hear people complaining about first drafts, preferring to have a finished piece to work with. I’m the opposite. I love first drafts. There’s that security of knowing that it doesn’t matter how good it is, the excitement of getting to know your characters and the story.

But I’m finding the second draft of my novel a tough slog.

I’ve revised, I’ve made copious notes on what to change and what to keep, I’ve been itching to get on and do…

But re-writing feels like a snails crawl. If I’m lucky I get to the end of the day and I’ve revised two scenes and I have this awful feeling that it’s all a big mess.

I recently read something along the lines of “..anyone can write a novel, but it’s turning what you’ve written into something worthwhile that actually shows if you’re any good at it.” I didn’t feel too great after reading that 😦

I can see what they meant though, you’re not going to see any progress if you don’t put the work in. I guess the honeymoon’s over, now I’ve got to wake up to the same faces every day, polish up their warts and make sure tea’s on the table or they’ll get cranky.
(Quick disclaimer by the way – none of my characters (or family!) have warts, and I’m the only one who gets cranky if not fed on time).

Does anyone else get this or are you all literary hares, dashing off a final polish as you waltz past me?

Writing myself a pep-talk has helped anyway (I must try that more often), and until I get on with this I won’t know if the end result will be a big mess needing extra work, or more like one of those paintings that only make sense when you step back and view them from a distance.

Wish me joy, I will get there – I just wish it felt faster.

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29 Responses to IWSG – Second Drafts

  1. Karen Walker says:

    I felt this through my second draft. And third. And fourth. Yada yada. I felt it somewhat when I was finally finished. Don’t worry. Just know you’re giving it your best shot. That’s all we can ask of ourselves. Good luck!

    Like

  2. Diane Burton says:

    I feel the same way about first drafts. They are so much fun! I too slog through the 2nd & 3rd drafts. Not so much fun. But it’s part of the process.

    Best wishes,
    Diane IWSG #92

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  3. I’m with you. I think the real writing is subsequent draft. Ok, “real writing” isn’t fair. It’s all writing, but to take your writing from “it’s there on the page” to something solid and masterful, the real work is in those next drafts. There’s a reason writers have manuscripts shelved and stuff in drawers. It’s hard!

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  4. I think you’re putting too much pressure on the second draft. I ADORE editing, and here’s why: I go through, make the edits that feel good at the moment, and leave notes in the manuscript to address the others ones on my next round. I’ll go through the entire manuscript 3 to 5 times before anyone else lays eyes on it, but I also have a pretty solid idea of the flow and what’s working by that point. So again, take the pressure off. Enjoy the ride. Play with the words and let them dazzle you like they did the first time around.

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  5. Anne says:

    Angela
    I understand completely. Tbh that’s why I’m kind of treating myself to nanowrimo this year. Hoping for a kick start. Not sure this is a good idea tho. 😼

    Like

  6. Stephen Tremp says:

    Writing myself a pep talk. Never thought of that. I’ll try it using voice recognition and a text through my cell phone.

    Stephen Tremp
    November IWSG Co-host
    http://www.stephentremp.com

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  7. Anna says:

    Yes, I have some trouble with the second draft for your same reasons. But I slog a long and eventually I get to the end. Be determined and only think about what’s in front of you. It will help with the doubts. 🙂

    Anna from Elements of Writing

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  8. Juneta says:

    I am so proud of you having a draft to edit. I would be jumping through hoops, lol. But I get it, you will get through it, You go.
    Juneta Writer’s Gambit

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  9. I think the second draft is the worst! My first drafts are always cringeworthy, so getting through the second one is an exercise in patience and trust.

    Every now and then, though, when I solve a plot problem or see something of value in the story that I didn’t notice before, I do a happy dance. It’s those small moments that are the most fulfilling for me…I just have to hang in there long enough to get to them.

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  10. Denise Covey says:

    ‘I just wish it would go faster…’ Ha ha. Don’t we all? I’m the opposite. I find the first draft excruciating as my inner editor screams at me full time and I find it hard to resist shuffling the deck chairs around before the ship sinks. But I come to life in the re-writing. Love it.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    Denise Covey November co-host IWSG

    Like

  11. You have a draft to edit. That in itself is AMAZING. You are part of a special group of writers who ACTUALLY finish a story… from beginning to end.
    Do you know how many people start a first draft and never complete?

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    • Angela says:

      I am humbled. Thank you for the reality check, it’s all too easy to just look at what still needs to be done rather than look back on what you’ve achieved.

      Like

  12. We all have to go through those phases where it doesn’t feel like we are making any progress. I hate first drafts and enjoy revisions – want to trade?
    And sorry I’m so late visiting! Still trying to catch up on comments.

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    • Angela says:

      No probs Alex, I saw how many comments you had! A trade would be interesting, but then I’d never learn about the second draft process would I

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  13. Don’t throw rocks at me for saying this, but I LOVE second drafts! First drafts are so tough for me because I keep questioning whether or not the story is worth it, will I ever get through it, etc. But by the second draft, I’ve proved to myself that I can get through it, and I start to enjoy the process more. Now fourth and fifth drafts? Slap me because I hate them. I think that as long as you keep with this project, you’ll surprise yourself and create something that you’re proud of. You can do it!

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    • Angela says:

      Thank you Quanie, maybe in time I can learn to love second drafts too, perhaps it’s like an arranged marriage where you have to take time to get to know one another 😉

      Like

  14. I actually feel exactly the same way. I love the first draft. I hate revisions. I think you put my reasoning into words. There’s no pressure on that first draft. No one has to see it or like it.

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