This week, I finished the first draft and moved onto the second. I always love this time.
The first draft is a frenetic setting down of the story before I forget it. It’s a time when I’m still not sure who the characters are, so they’re being created as I write. The plot is only in my head for a few pages ahead of me, and is liable to change. I don’t even know who the murderer is until a few pages before the end. It is a frenzy of discovery.
The second draft is calmer. I know who these people are now. I can hear their voices clearer. I can polish their conversations and actions to sound and act like them. I can clear up the plot, and make sure the right clues and connections are there. (I like my readers to be able to realise the culprit just as my detective does. I’m not a fan of the style of writing where the detective discovers the truth, but holds onto for 50 pages. 5 at best in my book. )
I can add descriptive details. I can add a sub-plot or two. I can relax now. I know where this is going, and instead of a headlong race to get there, I can take a gentle stroll, and notice the scenery on the way.
The first draft is an exciting, if exhausting journey of discovery. But the second draft is the fun part.