Saturday, May 16, 2009

Second Draft

No two words are more dreaded to a writer than "second draft." It's not that doing a second draft is something I particularly avoid. It's downright necessary...and somewhat fun in that you start to see the story take on a life of it's own. But it's just so much work!

It took me years to get on board with the whole concept of second drafts (and subsequently third, fourth, fifth, etc). I snickered at High School teachers when they'd mention it. I also got away with not doing them in college for the most part. Sure, I proofread, but that's not the same thing. 

It was in a mandatory writing course at NYU that I really learned how to read a first draft and work on a second draft. The course was called Writing Workshop and every freshman (no matter the major) was forced to take it for both semesters Freshman year. It was dreaded by most, but being a writer, I actually enjoyed it. It was (and still is to this day) the only writing course I've ever taken. It taught me that writing wasn't just a stream of consciousness. It was a process with many layers.

These days, I'm pretty proficient at writing many drafts, but I still partially dread that second one. It's the one where you need to be most selective...contemplating every phrase, dissecting each line of dialogue, and adding detail, detail, detail all while you keep asking yourself if the overall story is flowing at the right pace.

Needless to say, I'm currently going through the process on the latest novel I've finished. I'm actually really enjoying the book, but I must admit it's exhausting going through it so painstakingly. It's no wonder I usually end up hating every book I write by the time the last draft is approved by the least until the book comes out, then I usually love it. Time and distance is good like that.

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