Teens Can Write, Too!

Changing the world's opinion… as soon as we finish this math homework

Beginning The 2nd Draft

Hi everyone,

My name is Aisha, and just like you, I have been following this awesome blog for ages, which is why I was so excited to get the honor of posting on here.

You guys have already heard from Mark, who talked about beginning the query process, and today I want to take it back even further: to the second draft.

And with NaNoWriMo being almost over (not that my word count is anything to judge by), lots of us are going to be left with heaping piles of first-draft-yuck. I know from personal experience that going back and looking at the first draft of your novel for the first time can be a horrible feeling:

  • ‘Put thingy here’ – really, Aisha? Really? WHAT EVEN IS “thingy”??
  • Wait, who is this character? Why are they even here? And why did they suddenly disappear on page 20?
  • It’s so funny how much I love sloppy adverbs… so funny. *hysterical crying*


If you’ve done anything like this (or maybe something a little less dramatic), then I know how you feel.

Here’s how I defeat the monstrous second draft (besides of course, large amounts of overly processed foods.)

First, take a break. Step back, remind yourself what outside actually smells like (Yeah, I know. The bright light in the sky burns at first, but you’ll get use to it) and give your mind some time to refresh itself.

Second, decide what you want from your second draft. Some of us, most likely anyone doing NaNoWriMo, are basically starting from scratch with their novels. We got the words out, we have the main plot kinda, and we realize just how completely terrible those words actually are. So, the second draft can either be a complete rewrite or just a bit of copying and pasting. Either way, I can assure you, after the second draft, your novel will not be the same as it started out – and that’s a good thing. We’re trying to move forwards not backwards.

You most likely will not be focusing on punctuation and fancy prose in the second draft of your novel; there’s no point in fixing line by line, if the story itself doesn’t make sense.
Your second draft is mainly about fixing big plot holes (Yeah, that pirate family that you decided halfway through the novel worked better as farmers, yeah that’s gonna need some fixin’.)

The second draft is about figuring out your ideas, it’s about pulling all the big pieces of your story together to make it coherent.

Because, if we’re being honest, half the time when I go back to read the first draft I have no idea what was going on when I was writing a certain scene or what I was thinking.
The second draft is particularly important for those of you who are pantsers, who started their novel with not much idea where it would end.

The second draft is where you’ll mold most of your story, where everything comes together and you sift through those very big plot holes in the story and might end up killing a few plot bunnies that had seemed like such a good idea at the time.

The second draft basically consists of a lot of R&R – revising and rewriting.

Just like the first draft, this one will also have it’s difficulties. You’ll get tired, you’ll get annoyed and downright mad at your story. The important thing is to push through, to remember why you’re doing this in the first place: Because you have a story, a story that is brilliant and amazing and that you want to share with the world.



About hijabionhilltop

Aisha Monet is a writer who spends the majority of her time having deep conversations about rainbows, discussing all the ways the gender binary has failed us, and walking around Capitol Hill in sweatshirts that are way too big for her. You can find her at your local bus station filling in her eyebrows and writing poetry about stars.

14 comments on “Beginning The 2nd Draft

  1. thewritinghufflepuff
    November 30, 2014

    Great post! You described my feelings towards my first draft brilliantly haha

  2. Shim (magicandwriting)
    November 30, 2014

    Oooh, good post. Thanks!

  3. Kira Budge
    November 30, 2014

    But AISHA! The light outside REALLY DOES BURN. SAVE ME!

    • aishamonet
      November 30, 2014

      You must save yourself, O-Young one.
      (You’re actually older then me, but whatever.)

  4. Olivia Rivers
    November 30, 2014

    Awesome article, Aisha! I’m getting ready to dive into a second draft right now, and it’s nice to see all these helpful reminders. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have 120k of words staring you down. (Yes, 120k. Don’t look at me like that. My characters wouldn’t shut up, okay?)

  5. Appletaile
    November 30, 2014

    Some great advice! The thing is that a lot of the time, people don’t actually explain how to redraft. So, thank you. 🙂

    • aishamonet
      November 30, 2014

      Thank you! I hope this helps in some way, or at least gives you something to procrastinate on while you’re suppose to be writing;)

  6. Kiwi- rippedoutpages
    November 30, 2014

    Ah, great post, thank you! My first draft is absolutely horrible, and everything you mentioned. Now, the daunting second draft awaits.

  7. Alyssa
    November 30, 2014

    Ha, I put square brackets around random thoughts in my first draft too! Sometimes they’re perfectly sane, like [describe garden], or indecipherable, like [continue], or just downright crazy, like [heeeeeeeeelp]. Redrafting is really the hardest part of the process — I was planning on doing an entire blog series on revising, but then I had my own novel to revise, hehe ;D

  8. bandersontps
    December 1, 2014

    Reblogged this on worldpen and commented:
    As I’m currently working through a second draft of one of my stories, I feel this post.

  9. Taylor Lynn
    December 3, 2014

    This came at a very good time, because I actually finished the first draft of my novel a week ago today! And I already know that SO MUCH is going to change in the second draft. I’m mostly a panster, so as you said, there’s a LOT that needs to be revised and reconfigured and just plain fixed. But I’m pretty excited, so that’s a good thing. 😉 Anyway, though, this a great post–and I’ll look forward to reading more from you now that you’re part of the team at TCWT! Yay!

  10. A.R. Files
    December 3, 2014

    I don’t know of any writer who looks down at their first draft and is like, “Wow! Just wow! Let’s not change a thing.”

    Thanks for letting us all know that rescue is possible for 1st draft monstrosities. XD ❤

  11. morganthegeek
    December 10, 2014

    Oh dear… I think I may be going about my second draft all wrong. XD
    I spent such a long time on my first that I’m terrified of hurting it, but it needs to be DESTROYED and REMADE!!
    Thanks for the post. 😀

  12. Pingback: Writing Advice, Agent Interviews, Teen Authors, And More | Teens Can Write, Too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on November 30, 2014 by in NaNoWriMo, Writing and tagged , , , , , , .
November 2014
« Oct   Dec »
%d bloggers like this: