Sunday, April 18, 2010

Revising My 2nd Draft!

This week I’ve been rocking out my 2nd draft and I’m pretty excited about it. For 2nd drafts, I don’t necessarily look at sentence structure, grammar, or spelling (my fast drafting critique buddies are graciously putting up with these errors right now!).

Instead, I’m dealing with plot structure, character motivation, tightening and bridging gaps in the story.

Here’s my breakdown:

1. Big picture- I pull out my giant chart and glance over how the story moves and flows. Are there any scenes missing? Did I bring all the key points and clues into the story? When I look at the structure, I ask myself if the scenes are in the right order to give the story a solid ending.

2. The 50 Page Dash- You might have heard this term before and I think it’s a great one. In these pages, I like to make sure I’m drawing my readers in, introducing the main problem for the story, and making things tough for my main character.

3. Complications- Next I look at my scenes. Do they complicate the story in a way that it drives my character to action and reveals or builds my character? Each scene must push the story forward and raise the stakes.

More great links on plotting and revising:
1. Elana's thoughts on QueryTracker
2. Sarah has some great ideas at If You Give a Girl a Pen
3. Gale Carson Levine talks about Plot Luck
4. Tons of great stuff on revision over at

What you do when you work on your 2nd draft? I'd love to hear your ideas!


Talli Roland said...

Love the flowers!

Great question. I find that each novel is different - and is usually at a different stage in the second draft, depending on how well I've stuck to my outlines.

I love your breakdown though!

Have a great weekend and good luck with revisions!

Bish Denham said...

Great practical information Christina. Thanks!

Kimbra Kasch said...

I'm one of those edit as you go, then edit, then edit, then edit. I don't have a set procedure. I really like this idea though. More focused on particular areas to work on.

Thanks for the idea :)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I'm like you. Second draft is for structure, characters in the right places, story making sense.

Andrea Mack said...

Great post, Christy. I'm going to try your approach!

Angela said...

you are so organized!


Jackee said...

That's a great breakdown list, Christina! I'm a messy, all-over-the-board 2nd drafter but lately I've been trying to follow a lot of Plot Whisperer's advice and that's been helping stay focused.

Thanks for sharing!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

For me the 2nd draft is checking for the ease of transition for the reader to grasp the tension of each moment stacked upon another.

The last third of the novel is the kicker. Haven't you read a really thrilling, intense novel, only to have it fizzle for you at the end?

You go : is that it? was that where you were heading all this time?

Thanks for all the practical informantion on your own 2nd draft. It really was helpful. Have a great, productive week, Roland

Come check out my blog, WRITING IN THE CROSSHAIRS, pull up a cyber-chair and see if there is anything worthwhile to view.

Happy Monday, Roland

Christina Farley said...

Talli- The flowers are the cherry blossoms that have bloomed here in Seoul. The whole city is filled with them!
Jackee- I haven't heard of the Plot Whisperer, but it sounds like that cool movie, the Horse Whisperer, which I loved.
Roland- great ideas! Thanks!

Marcia said...

I love these ideas! What I mainly do in 2nd drafts, I think, is fix implausible stuff. If something isn't believeable, there's not much point in going further with it unless you improve it or ax it.

Unknown said...

Excellent system!!! Good Luck on the continuation! I'm only on the first set of revisions and I'm focusing on breaking up pieces into paragraphs, filling in the blanks, spelling, grammar and punctuation... yup my rough draft was ROUGH!

Buttercup said...

Sad to say I haven't gotten to a second draft. Plodding through the first, but appreciate the good ideas you've given.

Unknown said...

I'm very similar to what you do--I revise the first fifty pages and focus on the big stuff.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

For the second draft I check for consistency and make sure there are no plot holes. I also add and delete scenes and characters.