Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Dreaded Second Draft

Those of you who follow along with this blog know that I recently finished the flash first draft of my new historical. Now the fun begins. Or the misery, depending on your point of view. I start over, from the beginning, and read each scene. I have my check list to make certain I include all the senses along the way. Taste is the tricky one for me. It doesn't need to be in every scene, or even every chapter, but it does need to appear at some point.


Then, there's my check list of words. I have my list of passive words, to be avoided at all costs. Then I move on to my list of favorite words, that I tend to overuse. I don't need to eliminate all of them, just cut them by 2/3.


While I'm combing through my scenes, I like to think big picture, too. Am I rushing the story? Do I need to add in scenes? In this particular book, I do need to add a few scenes in the front part of the book, to show how the hero is cementing his relationship with the children as well as the heroine. I often will work on a jigsaw puzzle when I get to this stage of the editing process. There's a great similarity between working on a jigsaw puzzle and finding ways to slip in new scenes into a story line. Here's a picture of my latest puzzle, which took many weeks to complete.

I like big, intricate puzzles, since they remind me of my stories. This puzzle in particular is loaded up with so many little things that you can't possibly see them all unless you're working with each piece. For instance, in this one, I noticed, just as I was about done, that one of the bottles on the shelf had his spindly little arms and hands wrapped around the neck of the bottle next to him. It made me smile. A little hidden nugget, the kind I like to blend into my story lines.

The puzzle is done, and I'm nearly at the end of the second draft. Still a long ways to go, with those pesky scenes that need to be written and inserted into the story line without upsetting the flow. Drafts three and four are yet to come before I can say I'm content with it. But at least I'm moving forward with what I think is a really good story. I'll be sure to let you know if an agent or editor thinks the same. 

In the meantime, here's a picture of Mary in her new bed, which was a belated Christmas present. She had to wait until I could drive again in order to get it, but I think she'll agree that it was worth waiting for. Kind of like getting an offer from an agent or editor. 

18 comments:

  1. Ah yes, Becky, those dreaded favorite words. Sometimes I don't even realize I've used them. And then, when reading over the manuscript for the millionth time, there they are in profusion. And then there are all those other, overused, sneaky little words: but, yet, certainly, too.
    Your sense check list is a great idea. I never thought of that one, but I will indulge forthwith. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks, J. Arlene, for stopping by today. Don't you just love it when you're going through what you think is your final draft and you see your crutch words all over the place? Drives me crazy.

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  2. I am so not a puzzle person. Maybe I've just never found the right one, or maybe my mind doesn't work that way.

    I found my pre-edit check list I used to use a few years ago, maybe I'll go back. Now I do a pen and ink run through changing things as I go.

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    1. I work better on the computer than on paper these days. But I'm always up for new ways to create a better manuscript. Maybe I should try the pen and paper thing again.

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  3. Sounds like a great process Becky. I like puzzles, too, but my favs are computer game apps Words With Friends and Spider Solitarie. They help me relieve stress and get my brain cells moving. They say the Adult coloring craze going on is also good for that. May have to try it sometime.

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    1. I love to play spider solitaire, too. Anything that gets the brain active is perfect. Thanks for stopping by, Amanda.

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  4. I love the senses concept. Love when I learn something new to add to the process. Toward the final edit, I do print a copy out and go page by page with a pen. Just feels good, and helps to see the puzzle pieces all together.

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    1. Maybe I should print out a final version. Since this is not part of a series, it's a good time to start. Thanks, Kathleen, for reminding me that trying new approaches is never a bad thing,

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  6. Perhaps I've been reading too many murder mysteries lately, but I'm pretty sure that bottle is trying to kill his neighbor bottle.

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    1. I wish I could read what the bottles contain, but that would have been too much detail. I found it very funny, tho.

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  7. I'm working on my second draft right now, and as always it's both painful and rewarding. Thanks for sharing!
    Tema Merback
    Writing as Belle Ami

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    1. Thanks, Tema, for dropping by. You're right. Second drafts are an equal measure of pain and reward. Altho sometimes one seems to outweigh the other.

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  8. It's always interesting to see how everyone else does second drafts - I find every one is different, but the overuse of certain words happens every time. I love the picture of Mary. . .

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    1. Hi Anne. Mary says thank you for noticing her in her big girl bed. As for second drafts, each person has to figure out the method that works best for them. Thanks for stopping by today.

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  9. Hi Becky, I've just finished the first draft and have put the manuscript aside for a while. Taking a breather before getting into the thick of it.

    Cute pix of Mary...give her a hug.

    Joanne :)

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    1. Always a good thing to do, Joanne, to take a breather before getting back into it. I finished my 1st draft before I had my surgery, so I had lots of time to think about it. Mary's loving all the attention today.

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  10. A writer should always try to keep its writing very simple and clear. Always use facts which are easily acceptable by general people because they are very close to their assumptions and they welcome such kind of facts.Board game café bangkok

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