The gap between the first draft and the second draft?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
Post Reply
Posts: 4
Joined: October 25th, 2011, 3:09 pm
Location: Colorado

The gap between the first draft and the second draft?

Post by Plebeian » October 31st, 2011, 12:49 pm

Is 15 days enough to browse it with "fresh eyes" again? Because, if it is not, I swear i am going to get batshit insane! Today is my fifth day, and I have no idea how to play this waiting game. I have been advised on forums to start with a new project, so that it would keep me busy. And I have one in mind, but I don't know whether I can really involve myself in a different project now. To ward off my uneasiness, (and really I am not exaggerating, bouts of constant paranoia are hounding me so much that I want to open the drawer and take that damn thing out and restore order for/by myself -- what is my MC doing at page number 30 now? Is he okay? I hope he is not cornered by "swifties" and adverbs. Do things make sense? Is my prose pretentious? Gaahh.)

I don't want to give it more than 15/20 days because I would be meeting my girlfriend for Thanksgiving, and I want to make her read it and get comments from her. And I would need 10 days prior to it, so that I can make preliminary changes myself. So that gives the MS around 15-20 days to sit.

Do you think allowing it to rest for 15-20 is too less? (Stephen Kings says to rest it for six weeks. And there are many who advise a month.)

Also, how do you guys distract yourself and play the waiting game?
Last edited by Plebeian on October 31st, 2011, 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Finally I wrote the book not because I thought someone else would care. I wrote it because I cared." - Amitabha Bagchi.

Posts: 167
Joined: October 31st, 2011, 12:30 pm

Re: The gap between the first draft and the second draft?

Post by writersink » October 31st, 2011, 1:06 pm

At the end of the day, everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another. I know (and I may be in the minority here) that when I left a month between my 1st and 2nd draft I noticed no difference- I didn't read with fresh eyes at all. For someone else it may make all the difference in the world. I was once advised to leave the 1st draft for three weeks and you know what? It was enough for me.

But it's also important to remember not to rush yourself. If your manuscript is ready by thanksgiving, great. If not... well, I'm sure your girlfriend can wait. If that is the only time you see your girlfriend, try emails. Rushing yourself is not going to give you a better manuscript. Rushing yourself means you will end up with a rushed story and no one wants to read that. Give it to your girlfriend when it is ready- not when you think it should be ready. It seems to me this is the real reason you don't want to wait. Trust me, waiting could be the best thing you could possibly do for your writing.

As for playing the waiting game, I either write something else, or read other novels. Waiting has never really bothered me- I prefer to think of it as passive writing. Every day I wait is a day that could potentially make my writing better.

Hope I've helped. ;)
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~Ray Bradbury

User avatar
Posts: 540
Joined: September 20th, 2010, 11:18 am
Location: Berkshires

Re: The gap between the first draft and the second draft?

Post by Cookie » October 31st, 2011, 1:40 pm

I totally know the feeling of wanting to get it done so someone can read it, but wait! I strongly suggest waiting at least six weeks, but a month might work. Any sooner, and you'll be too emotionally invested to see any problems with your ms. It will be harder to pick out any character or plot problems.

If you still feel too jittery, try NaNoWriMo ( the intensity of it will distract you, and you'll be so busy trying to reach your daily word count that you'll have no time to look at your ms. Plus, it's fun!

And like Writersink said, don't rush yourself. Editing (especially the 1st couple of drafts) is a slow and grueling process. If you can't wait for your girlfriend to read it, give her the first draft. It's not perfect, but you'll at least get feedback for changes when you finally do edit it. I did that with my current ms. As soon as I finished a section, I mailed it off to my friend for feedback.

User avatar
Posts: 303
Joined: December 9th, 2009, 4:33 am
Location: Gravesend, UK

Re: The gap between the first draft and the second draft?

Post by Hillsy » November 1st, 2011, 5:38 am

Plebeian wrote:Also, how do you guys distract yourself and play the waiting game?
Simple: Massive, utterly crippling self-doubt. It's incredibly easy to step away from a project for 2 or 3 months when you're pretty sure its junk and you're such a poor writer the only authorial tools you possess to improve it are matches and some parafin.

I jest of course: I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. It's pretty horrid

In general though, if you haven't figured out what works best for you yet, follow the pros.

User avatar
Posts: 1821
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 11:22 am
Location: Babel

Re: The gap between the first draft and the second draft?

Post by polymath » November 1st, 2011, 6:29 am

I don't wait between sketch drafts, raw drafts, rough drafts, early drafts, late drafts, revision drafts. I do all I can for the moment at hand and then print and carry the ball and chain around. I examine the working draft for repeating motifs, for unintended symbolism and imagery with underrealized meanings. Rip into the print draft with a vengeance, evaluating content, organization, and expression, audience accessibility and relevance, intents and meanings' interpretability, whether I'm delivering for the intended audience's understanding and entertainment.

Having read others' works for the same features, and seen unintended meanings, artful, strong, potentialy meaningful features overlooked waiting in the wings for full realization, I realized it might be a good idea to try scrutinizing my creations for the same. No more letting creations lie. I just change hats and become my own developmental editor and worst critic. It's mostly reflection scrutiny of every iota and stop, every clause and paragraph, every large and small scale structure.
Last edited by polymath on November 1st, 2011, 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
Spread the love of written word.

Posts: 3
Joined: October 12th, 2011, 12:42 pm

Re: The gap between the first draft and the second draft?

Post by yasminy » November 1st, 2011, 7:42 am

The hardest lesson in writing for me has been patience - and I'm still struggling with it.
Nothing seems to move quickly enough - but if that manuscript is going to shine, patience is vital.
I try to leave 4 weeks in between the first and second edit - usually I get impatient and start after 1 or 2, but after the first couple chapters I notice that it's too early. Nothing flows right, my attempted edits are even worse then the original, and by the end, I want to scream.
Really, the best advice is to work on another project. There's got to be another story you're dying to tell.
I also like to grab 2-3 books from about the same genre as my manuscript (but not too similar) to get the flow of other writer's stories (nightly reading material) - not to copy their style, but the simple things like sentence structure, dialogue, tenses, punctuation, word choice are reinforced, and I can spot problems in my own manuscript more easily then.
Hope that helps.

User avatar
Posts: 1059
Joined: March 17th, 2010, 9:20 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: The gap between the first draft and the second draft?

Post by Quill » November 1st, 2011, 10:19 am

I waited 20 years on mine, but hey, that's just me.

User avatar
Posts: 38
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 11:58 pm

Re: The gap between the first draft and the second draft?

Post by JustAnotherJen » November 3rd, 2011, 11:59 am

I brought up a similar question recently in another thread and I totally feel your pain! I'm only on day two and it's killing me. I'm giving myself two weeks. I don't think I can do more than that. I also feel like two weeks will be sufficient for me to be well enough removed, assuming I manage to keep myself very distracted. If I just obsess for two weeks the I won't consider that enough distance. But my plan is to take the time to do some much needed R&D for another project I have in the works. I've never been through this experience before, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I just think if you can really get your mind somewhere else for a couple weeks then that's good. And if, when you go back to work on it again, it feels like it was too soon, then you'll know for next time... :)

User avatar
Posts: 322
Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 11:45 pm

Re: The gap between the first draft and the second draft?

Post by Beethovenfan » November 4th, 2011, 2:19 am

I am an edit-as-I-go kind of writer so my MS had already gone through major changes by the time I finally came to the end of the last chapter. I had been immersed in it for so long that there was NO way I could look at it objectively. So, I put it down for several months. I had to get completely away from it; I even went so far as beginning a new project just to get my mind off it. It was a tough three and a half months! But, when I came back to it I was really looking at it with fresh new eyes and could see all the good things in it (and I'm not trying to be boastful, but there were some pretty darn good passages that I'm still wondering how they came from me!), and I could clearly see the things that need to be changed. So, I am definitely one to vote for putting it in the drawer for a good long time. However, I think Quill's 20 year stint is a bit excessive! ;)
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

Posts: 71
Joined: December 21st, 2009, 6:21 pm

Re: The gap between the first draft and the second draft?

Post by Bron » November 4th, 2011, 9:45 pm

15-20 days doesn't sound like enough to me, but as writersink said, everyone is different. I also agree with writersink that it sounds like you're rushing yourself so you can give your MS to your girlfriend at Thanksgiving. I think you would be better off waiting and emailing it to your girlfriend. Or are you seeing her at Christmas? Perhaps you could make that your deadline, which would give you enough time to let it sit, read it through and make some initial changes, and then give it to her.

ETA: Forgot to answer your second question - another project might distract you, but it doesn't have to be a writing project. I symphathise with not wanting to start a new one when you're immersed in this one. So why not try something completely different? Take up running, or start a big computer or Xbox game that you can use as distraction.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 5 guests