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Elements of a Novel's Second Draft: Freeing the Red Pen



I'm starting the second draft of Insecticide 2 and thinking about what it needs to include.


One important element of a second draft is character development. The writer has the opportunity to flesh out characters, giving them depth and complexity. This involves adding back-story, motivations, goals, and personality traits. It is important to make sure each character is unique and well-rounded. This will make them more relatable and engaging to the reader.

Another crucial element in a second draft is plot development. The writer should refine the structure of the story, ensuring it is well-paced, with rising and falling action, and a satisfying resolution. The writer may choose to add new subplots, or cut others that are not serving the overall story. It is important to make sure that the plot is clear, consistent, and engaging, with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

A third key element in a second draft is world-building. The writer can flesh out the setting of the story, making it feel immersive and real. The writer can add details about the physical environment, the culture and customs of characters, and the technology and belief systems of the world. This creates a believable and engaging world for the reader.

A fourth element of a second draft is dialogue. The writer has the chance to refine the language and dialogue of the story, making it engaging, natural, and true to the characters. This can involve cutting or adding dialogue, or tweaking the pacing and tone of conversations. With those elements in mind, the second draft of a novel can be a crucial step towards a finished, polished work of fiction.


The most important element for me is cutting. There were ideas and elements I felt strongly about when I outlined and started the first draft. But, by now it's clear they aren't central to my story. There's a temptation to try to find a new home for them, or reshape them to fit the current structure of the story. But, that results in a square peg into round hole process. It's critical for me to cut something. anything, from the first draft, just to get past the phycological hurdle. Once I've done it, my red pen is free to strike wherever needed.

-v

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