So now that you have finished writing your first draft, it is time to begin with the dreaded second draft. Not that I have anything against second drafts, but I find them frustrating, annoying and completely unjustified. I mean why can’t the first draft I write be the only draft I write? Why should I have to put down the child of my labors (figuratively speaking) and dissect it until it bleeds? If you’re asking yourself these questions, I’ve got the answers for you. Bear with me, this article may get out of hand. So here I go.
Second drafts can generally be the most complicated stage for any writer – if you let them. The first step towards completing the second draft is to:
Give yourself enough time between writing the first and second draft. By ‘enough time’, I mean a couple of days or weeks and certainly not a couple of years. This time apart will help you see the draft with a fresh outlook and fresher eyes.
Read the draft carefully and slowly at first. You might notice some scenes or paragraphs that don’t gel together as smoothly as you thought before.
Do not, under any circumstance talk about your work in progress at this particular stage. You, yourself have no idea how and where exactly your rough draft is going to end up. So it is always better to critique yourself alone rather than facing the firing squad with an unfinished manuscript.
I personally prefer to print my drafts out on paper as it helps me in editing my work in the old school way. But if you prefer to edit your work electronically, then good for you. Always do what feels right to you.
Remember to not make any major changes while reading the first draft. Fix any typing and grammatical mistakes if there are any. Sometimes while we are completely absorbed in our writing we tend to make mistakes.
Place a question mark or make a small note next to any sentence or paragraph that you feel requires further editing. It is never a good idea to completely change the draft, while you are reading it in one go.
Make sure you haven’t used many adverbs and adjectives in your paper as unnecessary words demerit your worth as a writer. Try to keep your work concise and to the point. That also does not mean that addition of necessary data is prohibited. Add sentences and paragraphs where you deem compulsory.
Pay attention to each and every sentence. Read them out loud so that you can place yourself in the shoes of your readers. If your writing does not please you, it will never please another reader.
Now you can present your work to a few friends or family members for proofreading who are well versed in the language you have chosen to write in. But remember, show it to as few people as possible since the more critics you have, the less likely it is that your writing will improve.
You can only move forward to writing the second draft after you have cleared up the clutter residing in the first draft.
Writing the Second Draft and it’s Importance
Now that you have collected the edited version of your work, it is time to start writing the second draft. With the notes that you and your proofreaders have made of the changes required in the first draft, simply rewrite the second one. That is it. That is all it takes to write the second draft. Well, maybe not all, since sometimes we can be required to write a third draft as well. Or a fourth. Or a fifth. I think you get my drift.
Now that you look back upon it, the only worst thing about writing the second draft was looking at your writing through a stranger’s eyes and editing it.
Put on that dreaded editor’s hat and get down to it. I know, I know. I know you’re a writer and not an editor. But you need to be critical of your own work first before presenting it to another human being. The whole idea of the second draft is to put final touches to your story. It helps your characters and story-line to develop. It is all about you and what you feel is necessary for the story. Therefore, there is absolutely no need to be intimidated.
Have a little belief. Do not think that you are a bad writer if your first draft turns out to be completely disastrous. Believe in yourself and your story. No writer has ever written a rough draft that was immediately worthy of being published.
Remember, if you are your own worst critic, no one else will have to. Be it a book, novella, essay or a research paper, you need to be serious about finishing it to the end. That is the importance of the second draft in your life. Without it your work is and will always remain incomplete and lacking.
Keep in mind that editing and writing the second draft are two separate tasks. Editing is cold, insensitive work while writing is creative and full of life. They can and should never be attempted at the same time. Writing the second draft can be easier in the sense that you no longer have to invent scenarios in your mind for your characters or give arguments to support your ideas. You just have to make them neat and tie a ribbon on them so they can be presented beautifully to the public.