If 1st drafts are meant to suck…

What are second drafts meant to do??

We hear it over and over again. It’s a first draft, it’s okay if it’s not perfect. It’s MEANT to suck. You’re just working all the kinks out. You can’t edit something that hasn’t been written – get that story written down. Once those words are on the page, then you can start getting the story perfect. All first drafts are bad.

Where is the advice for second drafts though? Because I need some. Now. I’m about to admit defeat, throw my hands in the air, and consign myself to being that girl who writes fifty million first drafts because it’s so much easier than trying to edit something to perfection. Because I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t make it right, or anywhere near right. And I certainly can’t make it perfect. I’m not even sure I can make it ‘good enough’.

So someone, please, tell me that second drafts can suck too. Because I need to find a way to ease off on myself and stop thinking that every word I write is rubbish. If it’s even a fraction better than the original, that’s something. Right? Does it count? Second drafts suck less?

Complete this sentence for me. I’d love to know what you think: Second drafts….


23 thoughts on “If 1st drafts are meant to suck…”

  1. suck less than the first draft?? πŸ™‚ If it’s any consolation, I can’t remember which draft I’m on with my novel. More than three, I can tell you that. All you can do is keep at it until you can sit back and say “Ok. It’s ready to go.” Then, you have to take the leap of faith and let it go. It’ll never get published if you don’t send it out. If you ask me, that’s worse than the drafts. holding your finger over the “submit” button is agonizing. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and push. πŸ™‚ Good luck. It does get better.

  2. To me, second drafts move you one step closer to where you want the story to be. It’s not meant to be perfect, it’s just meant to start shaping. You have the words, now a second draft is meant to start turning the story into what you think you really wanted it to be.

    1. Thanks, Sadie. I need to get my head around that. I think I expect perfection too soon, of myself, where as I know that there are usually more than 2 drafts for anything!

  3. Hey, I totally agree that second drafts can be rubbish.

    For me the third is often bad too! In many respects I find that the 1st draft is easiest, as just getting my ideas and the basic story-line written down is easy – it just flows out, so to speak.

    Then getting around to fixing all those mistakes and bad writing really (for me anyway) takes thought and effort. Like comparing a snazzy bit of writing with something that has the wrong syntax – the wrong feel to it, such as stilted or jumpy text.

    Hitting that ‘just right’ style, for instance dialogue, is for me the most difficult.

    1. Thanks, Kaden. I can see that I am putting way too much pressure on myself to get it right now. So this is helpful. They don’t call it a work in progress for nothing, do they lol

  4. 2nd Draft is just that, the second one. Its all just numbers, just keep pushing in the right direction and you will get it there! I highly doubt there are many succesful novels that went to publish on the 2nd try around LOL Same with Design, the 1st 2nd 3rd 4th so on don’t always work out, you just gotta keep pushing!

    1. gotta keep pushing. Thanks, Em! Gotta unstick my brain from thinking I have to get it right this time, first! lol I can do that though.

  5. second draft sucks. third draft sucks. maybe by fourth or fifth I can see the end. Oops major plot changes, another 2 drafts of this sucks. So let’s say somewhere around the number 10 it looks good.
    The consolation for me is that each draft gets quicker and quicker because the changes are less and less.
    But draft number 2 is almost an entire re-write for me.
    good luck.

    1. Thank you so much, Jennifer. I think this was exactly what I needed to hear!!! My second draft has large chunks of rewriting in it, so I really need to kick the idea that it needs to be perfect. Thanks so much, really.

  6. Second drafts are still a work in progress πŸ™‚

    It might be time to give it to a trusted friend and get some immediate feedback, even on the first couple of chapters. Sometimes you just need to hear someone else tell you that you’re wrong – your second draft doesn’t suck, but has a ton of potential.

    Good luck, sweetie πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Melissa! I’ve had feedback on the first draft, and if I could get past the first few scenes of the second I MIGHT give it to a friend, but no, it just doesn’t feel like its working for me. I’m going to ease back on myself, jump ahead to the bits I want to write and find the fun again.

  7. Every draft except the final one should suck at least somewhat – otherwise it’s the final draft. Ideally each one sucks at least a little less than the first, but sometimes even that isn’t a guide – you have to go back to go forward sometimes.

  8. I’ve also had second drafts that were worse than the first. I’ve tried doing extensive editing and usually I end up ruining the book instead of making it better. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll just trust myself the first time and besides fixing typos, punctuation, and grammar, I keep the story as is. Then I start on the next story.

    I just keep practicing and my stories suck less and less the more experience I gain (or so I hope). The first few novels I wrote won’t ever see the light of day and instead of doing a second draft edit on them, I will rewrite them from scratch.

  9. If it’s any consolation, I took five drafts to write my first book, and every one of them was a whole heap better than the last, but still felt pretty terrible as I was writing it. *Hugs* You just have to push through and have faith πŸ˜‰ You’ll get there in the end!

    1. Thanks, Beaulah πŸ™‚ I do just have to push on. I think starting is the hardest bit – no matter what draft! I retermed it ‘v. 1.5’ and it feels better now hehe

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