Sunday, 6 April 2014

From Fast Draft to Second Draft!

I haven't blogged since writing, in December, about the pros and cons of fast drafting, but I have been working steadily away in the background, one step at a time, moving towards that moment when I finally sit down and tackle my second draft.

And believe it or not, I'm excited about it!

If Fast Drafting was a two-week block of unconscious, creative, frenzied writing flow, the second draft is where I get to be creative in a different way. It's rediscovering the story (after the four-month break) and seeing, for the first time, just what themes and ideas and elements my Muse, or subconscious, brought forward out of the chaos.

And then I get to stitch everything together in a more coherent, structured way so that the gems and jewels can be displayed to their best advantage. Now, THAT's fun!

So, let's take a look at how I intend to tackle the second draft.


I've had Scrivener for about a year or so. I bought it after Camp NaNo in 2013, but I've rarely used it. The learning curve was quite steep and a bit intimidating, so I decided to keep writing and working on my first draft and get back to it when that was completed.

Since that time I've found some YouTube videos on how to use Scrivener and they've been incredibly useful. Let me share a few of them with you.

This one is from Literature & Latte, the creators of Scrivener. Very simple and you'll be able to use the basics of Scrivener within 10 minutes. :)

This is an excellent tutorial which carries things to the next level (after watching the first video, for instance). It shows a few features that can be put to good use immediately.

And for anyone who's interested Joseph Michael offers three different options of paid subscriptions to his website. To get an idea if this is for you, you can find a couple of free tutorials here:

Revision Resources

In February, I started into the preliminary work for my second draft. I bought Martha Alderson's ebook, Before the Next Draft (which you can read a bit more about on this page, just scroll down).

My next resource is Susan Dennard's guide to revisions (Scroll down the page in the link to the section headed Revising Your Novel.)

And to keep me motivated, here are two posts that I fell in love with:


After some extensive research, I bought the following two books from Book Depository on revising and how to hone my writing for this second draft. (The links to the two books below are affiliate links. It doesn't change the price of the book, it simply means I get a small commission for recommending the book here.)

As soon as I have gone through them and used them to revise, I'll post some reviews.

The First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke
What drew me to this book: Not only does it tell you what the first 50 pages need to achieve, it tells you HOW to do it. Loads of good reviews on Amazon.

The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass
What drew me to this book: I subscribe to Writer Inboxed (on hiatus at the moment) and Donald Maass is one of the columnists. I really enjoy his columns because he asks questions that make you think, really think. This book looks to have more of these thought-provoking questions and techniques to help you show your answers in the writing.

Another book I bought just after finishing my first draft:
Writing Active Setting by Mary Buckham
What drew me to this book:  My first drafts are skimpy on setting and suffer from Talking Heads Syndrome. To have three books dedicated to writing settings that ground a reader firmly in the world of my story was too good to pass up. And all I can say now, having dipped into this series, is that it's worth the price. Highly recommended for anyone who needs a bit of help with settings, and I'm sure more experienced writers would find something here for them too. The series also includes a bonus section on Hooks.


One of the best videos I've seen recently on Story Structure - and I say the best because it reminded me once again of the link between internal and external arc, as well as showing me an alternate way to structure a novel - is Katytastic's on You Tube.

She uses a 3 Act-9 block-27 chapter structure.

One other thing I'm considering is requesting a Story Analysis from Larry Brooks of Right now the Conceptual Kick Start Story is $50 but it will be increasing significantly mid-April to take into account how much feedback he gives a writer to point them in the right direction.

And so, that's what I've been up to. I hope the resources I've listed here are helpful.

What resources have *you* found useful to help you revise your second draft?

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