If I ever thought that writing the first draft was a difficult task, I was in for a surprise. Harder ordeals await further. My first draft made me cringe. I couldn’t bear to read it.
But some things are needed to be done. So I pushed myself to read it once. I mean read it till the very end without a pause to edit it. The temptation to edit it straightaway was very hard to resist.
Here are some observations made while going through my first draft:
The outline I had originally plotted had changed. I mean it had changed a lot.
My story had several plot holes, which glared right back at me.
The characters of my story, though perfectly developed in my mind, didn’t look well etched in my draft.
The scenes required a little more description for the reader to visualize it the way I intended them to.
Some things were repeated in more than two chapters.
I had paid a lot of attention to some characters and some were ignored.
The end of the story seemed a little abrupt or hurried, as if I were just trying to get it over with.
Having made all the above observation, I thought of starting off with my second draft. For the first few days, I just didn’t know how or where to start from.
Then I came up with a plan. Here it is:
First, using the application, Calibre, I converted the first draft from a Word document into a .mobi format.
I transferred the .mobi file to my mobile phone to read it on Kindle.
Then I read the entire story and while doing so, I highlighted the areas that needed my immediate attention.
I marked those areas with a small note of what needs to be done.
Then I reached back to my Word document on the laptop and used the ‘track change’ option.
Finally, I started with my second draft.
After every new scene that I added, I had to go back and read it to see the effect of it on the overall draft or the chapter. It was very exhausting.
Yet if we persist and see through the draft till the end, we learn many new things that the first draft hadn’t taught us.
Here are some things I learned while writing the second draft:
We desperately need beta readers right from the end of the first draft to let us know if the story is plausible in the first place and to point out some glaring discrepancies in the plot that escape our eyes in spite of repeated re-reads.
At least for the first timers, second draft is still not the phase where we can afford to start the editing, no matter how much we crave for it.
Rewriting the scenes can be cumbersome if we need to change the story line even slightly.
Adding new characters, if any, in the story while writing the second draft can create a herculean task to include the character in the entire sequence of the story and make us feel as if we are back to writing our first draft.
Not a single plot hole should remain unplugged by the end of the second draft.
Inter-weaving the sub-plots together is essential.
We need to check for any sequence of events in the story that needs to be relocated to another chapter to create better impact.
Now is also the time to add more emotional depth into the story.
Again, you need fresh pair of eyes to read the draft and give you a perspective and feedback from the readers point of view to proceed to the third draft which after editing, may hopefully turn out to be your manuscript.
This was my journey through the second draft. Now I wait for my beta readers to give me some valuable feedback. Till then I am on a break. I think I earned it.