Second draft fun.
Second draft time! Yah! Some people hate it but I must say it is fast becoming my favourite writing activity. Planning can be fun but, for me at least, it is a rather boring but necessary evil to help me avoid the trap of “wandering into the marshes” as Fiona Macintosh puts it. Doing the first draft requires pure creativity. It takes hours of solid concentration, uninterrupted dedication and lots and lots of typing.
But second draft is where I find I can relax into making the story zing. I exchange boring words for ones that better evoke the mood, I create settings that will transport the reader to another time and place, I add another dimension to a character to make you love (or hate) them even more.
And this time round I am making myself use the “read out loud” technique. It does make a difference. For an abysmal proof reader such as myself it helps me hear what I can't see but more importantly it catches the rhythm of the scene, I hear repetitions and notice when a sentence is too long or a paragraph too convoluted. But best of all it brings joy when you hear out loud that phrase that makes the writing come to life with a phrase that is yours and yours alone.
Second draft is also the time to do some of the yet-to-do research that I flag in the first draft. But even in second draft, research can become a distraction and, unless it is vital to the plot or I can find it within ten minutes, it stays as a comment out to the side; comments such as “Check this date” “what would her hat be made of” how did they get the chess pieces from Uig to Stornaway in 1830- boat of horseback?’. I then go back and do the remaining research in a block once the second draft is completed.
And because my research trip to Lewis is now booked I am also now using the second draft to highlight in purple the research and detail that I can only get once there. Comments such as “ask at the Stornaway Library” “walk along this beach” “ what are the prevailing winds in June?”, “what does the seaweed look like?” are scattered throughout and by the time I get to Lewis in June I will have a long list of things to do. I can’t wait to begin ticking them off and getting this delicious details into the novel.
So as you see, for me second draft is great fun! What do you think fellow writers? What techniques do you use?
4/22/2018 05:53:26 pm
Hi Jen, Love this. So it sounds very exciting to me and I would love to be doing the same. I know you will have an exhilarating time checking all the facts. I would love to be packed into your suitcase because of my own interest and writing about this unique place. I think I definitely need to embark on my own research trip to Gloucester and Worcestershire! In the not too far distant future. Thanks for clarifying second draft as I think that is where I find myself too. Cheers to you.
Jo Ann Lorimer
4/23/2018 03:05:00 am
Well done Jen. Impressive in fact I too am writing, on the first draft, so you have given me great hope for when I start the second one. And, wow about your field trip! Again, impressive. Looking forward to hearing/seeing/reading all about it.
Jennifer Mackenzie Dunbar
7/3/2018 07:09:58 pm
Thanks Jo Ann. Great to hear about your writing. Perhaps we can have a writerly catch up when I am in BC in September.
4/25/2018 03:28:08 pm
This is a lovely website, Jen :) And quite interesting reading about your writing process! I always love hearing how other writers approach their craft!
Jennifer Mackenzie Dunbar
7/3/2018 07:13:08 pm
Thanks Poppy.I have surprised myself with the website -not as hard to construct as I thought. Look forward to catching up with you at August meeting.
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Jennifer is a writer of short stories, novels and a family history.