2nd Drafts

Second Vs. Third Drafts

Sorry I didn’t announce this sooner:  our next book for The Writer’s Book Club is DAIRY QUEEN by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. I think I’ll try starting the discussion on Saturday (April 3rd)  instead of Wednesday, if that’s okay with everyone.

This week I frantically tried to finish my second draft—still not done! I need to get it to my critique partners, but I keep finding mistakes. One of these days I’ll have to accept imperfection and just send it off.

In my fantasy world of writing, I would finish the third draft before sharing it with my CPs. But since that’s not an option, I kind of cheated and incorporated a few of my third draft techniques into my second draft. What are the differences between a second draft and third draft? Depends on the writer, but here are my differences:

Second Draft:

1. Finish incomplete scenes.
2. Improve or delete the bad scenes.
3. Deepen story themes.
4. Create 3-D characters.
5. Tighten the plot.
6. Perfect descriptions.
7. Add subplots and tension.
8. Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite.
9. Research the details.
10. Complete the story’s timeline/calendar.

Third Draft:

1. Polish the prose until it shines.
2. Debate the necessity of every word.
3. Delete as many adverbs as possible.
4. Improve metaphors.
5. Experiment with formatting.
6. Fix punctuation.
7. Replace overused words with synonyms.
8. Replace cliches with original phrases.
9. Choose more active verbs and stronger adjectives.
10. Decide chapter lengths, titles, epigraphs, and playlists.

The third draft comes more naturally for me. It may sound boring, but I love every item on my third draft list. To be honest, the main reason I’m struggling with the second draft and taking too long—because I’d much rather do third draft tasks. Instead of researching and working on big picture issues, I’m deciding on the best words to use! Learn from my mistakes, people!

Speaking of which, I better get back to work so I can finish my second/third/whatever draft. But I’d love to hear some of your experiences with second and third drafts. How do your drafts differ from mine? Which one is your favorite?

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2 thoughts on “Second Vs. Third Drafts

  1. Since you’re a third-draft junkie, you’d probably love the AutoCrit Editing Wizard. It’s great at finding all the overused and repeated words, slow pacing, etc.

    My process is similar to yours. And yep, it’s hard to stay focused on the big-picture elements.

    • Hi Jay! I’ve never heard of AutoCrit Editing Wizard—I’m intrigued! It’s a software you bought?

      Glad to know I’m not the only one struggling with big-picture elements! Any tips you can share?? 😀

      Thanks for your comment!

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