Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Second Draft Is the Hardest

The first draft is written with all the windows open. Who cares what noises drift in, what strange patterns distant headlights paint? It's windows open and pedal to the medal, floor the machine and let 'er howl!

And the end result? A really fine first draft--which means, of course, a really bad example of polished writing. That's OK, though, because it's not a finished draft. It's a rough draft.

It's impossible to revise a blank piece of paper. That's why eventually we have to step into the vehicle, roll down the windows, turn up the radio, and floor it! Let the wind rip sound from the speakers and blow music out the window. Let the engine howl and the road unwind its endless beauty.

And then you're done with D1, and the second time around is your task. D2.

The second draft is the hardest. It's during the second draft that the exhilaration of the first draft must be honed to become at least mediocre, to become a structure that has hope and is not just a rambling dream. The second draft must have a beginning, middle, and end. It must not ramble off and then stop. Characters or ideas must not just appear and then disappear. There must be a sense of direction, movement with purpose.

D3 is a refinement, a polishing of a recognizable artifact. Draft 2 is making the existence of that art a fact--even if it's still bad art, art in the rough. The second draft is where I begin to consider the reader, the audience.

"And it's about time," should be your reasoned response.

Copyright 2009 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this! I don't know what draft I'm on, maybe fifty million and twenty five...