The Second Draft

Joe Abercrombie writes here at length about his process for tackling a second draft.
The first chunk of serious revision, going from a first draft to a second, has really become the key phase in the way I’m working these days.  The first draft will probably have some dead ends, some wasted time, some plot holes, some blurry, indistinct characterisation, especially at the start.  The second draft may still be a little bland (further phases of revision will work on the detail of the primary and secondary characters, the backdrop and the language) but it should be coherent and consistent, with meaningful arcs and believable characters, with plotting that makes sense and is properly developed from start to finish, with no significant dead weight.  That’s the hope.  There may be some significant scenes to add, some others to take away (though it’s pretty rare for me to cut whole scenes).  There’ll generally be an emphasis on cutting – it’s amazing the improvement just cutting out sentences and paragraphs that no longer seem to help can make.  There’ll also be some general rewriting and sharpening of language wherever something seems particularly ropey or better ideas occur.
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