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THE SECOND DRAFT (And you thought the first draft was hard)

I came across this tweet today:

I know how HM Braverman feels. I have started working on the second draft of my third mystery in the Trisha Carson series. You’d think by the third time, I would have it down...know what to write and when to do it. Well, I don’t.

In the past when I finished the first draft, I’d let it sit for a bit, make a paper copy and start to read and jot down notes on the edges of the paper. Instinctually I knew that the story would remain pretty much the same, but it had to be cleaned up.

When I finished the first draft of Dead3, a working title based on the fact that this is the third mystery in the series and it will have Dead in the title, I knew I still had months of work ahead of me. I had decided to add a complicated subplot about 2/3rds through the first draft of the mystery. Then, the question was: do I start from the beginning and add the subplot or do I finish the draft and add the subplot the second time through. I decided to wait until I started the rewrite. But the idea that a major, major rewrite was going to happen was deflating.

I never made a paper copy. Never read through the draft before starting the rewrite. My internal response was, ‘why bother?’ So much had to change. It was daunting. I waited a month to start overhauling the text. I found every reason possible not to take the first step in the second draft. Pausing a week for Thanksgiving was the most legitimate excuse I came up with.

However, I am pleased to say that I am about 8,000 words into the rewrite. I have thrown out two major scenes because they didn’t add anything to the story, just slowed it down. I am weaving the subplot in and it is not as hard as I thought.

Rewriting is a strange exercise. It’s where everything begins to come together. The operative word here is ‘begins.’ There were four rewrites for my first mystery, Dead in the Water. There were nine rewrites for the second one, Drop Dead Red . (See below.)


I’m hoping Dead3 will fall somewhere in the middle of the last two.

I did some research that might help you plan your second draft. Here are a few websites that I think offer strong advice. But you have to decide what works for you. No matter what recommendations are made and how famous the author is who makes the recommendation, you’re the writer. You get to choose what you want to do.

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