The Second Draft

As I sit here typing this, my printer (super old, and super crappy printer) is chugging out the pages of the second draft of my YA fantasy novel. And I am both elated and exhausted. It’s done. I did it. Despite my tendency to doubt or think it’s not worth it, I managed to finished the second draft.

And that second draft was hard!

The first draft was crappy, and rightly so. It should be crappy. Anne Lamott has a different adjective for the first draft, but I’m trying to keep this clean so I call it “crappy.” And actually, finally accepting that a first draft is garbage was a big push to actually finish it. I started the first draft nearly five years ago. That’s right, FIVE. It spent a lot of time buried in my computer.

I finished it in January of 2019 and have just now, in October of 2020 finished the second. And the sad part? I’m not even done yet. I guessing I’ll be going through at least two more drafts–but probably more–to clean this book up and get it to the level I want it.

I know there are still plot holes.

I know it’s riddled with typos and awkward dialogue.

I know scenes are abrupt and sloppy.

But you know what? It’s better than it was. Let that sink in for a moment: my terrible second draft is still eons better than my crappy first draft.

The final word count for the second is at about 81k. I’ve never written that many words of one piece in my life and it feels like I just finished a very long, arduous, nasty marathon: sweaty, hungry, and ready for a long nap.

But it’s done. I’ve done something I’ve never done before. I rewrote a crappy first draft into a better second draft.

I do plan to eventually shop this manuscript around and see if I can get a publisher for it, but you know what? Getting published is even harder than writing a terrible first or second draft. I just hold on hope–again, from Anne Lamott– that if I actually get the book done, I will find a way to get it published.

For now, the second draft is going to sit, undisturbed, for at least six weeks; I need some distance from it to really come back and polish it up. In the meantime, I’m researching and brainstorming for NaNoWriMo, and I may try and work on some shorter projects, just to keep the writing habit up.

But for now, as my printer kicks out the pages, I can breath again. It’s done. The second draft is done.

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