Sunday, August 12, 2012

I Love the Second Draft

Have you ever watched a movie or a television show and realized that you could have done it better. With a little rewrite, you'd turn it from terrible or mediocre into something spectacular. Yes, you're falling into the hindsight is 20/20 trap, with a little bit of armchair quarterbacking to boot, but that doesn't mean you're wrong.

I wrote earlier that the key to writing a book, or a play, or a screenplay, or anything, really, is to get the first draft written. Don't worry about making it perfect, just get through it. That way, once you're done, you can then apply all that hindsight onto what you just made. The best part is that unlike the movies or television shows, you can make those needed changes and make it better.

I finished the first draft of Fortress of the Dark Heart a while back and now I'm deep into the second draft. I have a big list of things I need to change or fix before I can even begin to think about polishing it and then prepping it for release. It's a lot of work, but I also love doing it. It's like putting together an outdoor deck or building a gazebo. While at first it's a giant mess, it slowly comes together and then one day you realize that it actually looks like something.

There's a lot that I've already changed or fixed, and I'm still working on it. I do look at some of what I wrote and wonder what I was thinking. Other times, I curse my past self because I know he decided not to worry about getting it right and let future-him worry about it. Jerk. I also have those startling revelations that change everything and fix a lot of problems, be they with plot or character or continuity. With every change, I become happier with what I'm doing.

This is why having a first draft is so important. I can't fix what I don't see before me. Even if I have to rewrite entire chapters, I am aware they need to be rewritten because I know what comes before and after them. I now have context for the changes and can instantly see how they will affect the rest of the story.

I'm very excited about how this is shaping up. I've spent years on this story, almost the same amount of time as I devoted to Guardians of Suncast Dale, and all that effort is finally going to pay off. There's still a lot more work to do, but I know I have a great tale worth telling, and I can't wait for everyone else to read it.

 More of my Musings

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