So I am currently in the aging period between first and second draft.  I have been told that it is best to give a few weeks away from the story to let it mature, so to speak.

Meanwhile, I have been reading “On Writing” by Stephen King.  He suggests figuring out what your theme is.  What kept you bent over the keyboard at night, rather than sleeping.  That way when you work on your second draft, you can polish it in the proper places.

So, what is my theme?  Loyalty?  Forgiveness?  Redemption?  I am not sure yet.  I am going to wait another week or two while my critique partners get to the end.  Fresh eyes when I re-read it will hopefully help ferret it out.

How about you?  Do you know the theme of your WIP?  What do you do after you finish your first draft?  Do you attack the second draft right away, or give it a resting period?

Also, I am casting about for my next story.  I may have a kernel starting to sprout.  :^)



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9 responses to “Aging

  1. wordfoolery

    Leaving a finished draft aside before revision is a really good idea. Stopping before a draft (or a revised draft) is complete is not such a good idea (I’ve fallen foul of that one before). Because I write non-fiction and some short fiction too, I just go off and do that instead. Or work on a different first draft. I always seem to have plenty waiting to be finished, mainly thanks to starting a new novel each year during NaNoWriMo.

    And yes, I do know the theme for my novels, at least by the time I’m halfway through a first draft, and often well before that point. It might not be apparent to readers, but it’s definitely in my own head.

    I imagine doing something non-writing-related would work equally well. Weeding the garden, perhaps?

    Good luck with the revision stage, it can be tough, but always worthwhile.

    happy writing,

    • I almost fell into the trap of stopping the first draft to begin rewriting from the beginning. Mostly because I was becoming frustrated with trying to wrap everything up.

      One of my critique partners (Hi Pam!) was quite, shall we say adamant and vocal, in her protesting at that thought. Several others also insisted that I should finish before going back. I am glad I listened.

      Right now I am catching up on owed critiques while letting ideas roll lazily about inside my head. I am happy.

      • Pam

        Ah well, sometimes my advice is sane (even if the delivery is not). Now the other piece of said advice was to print your book and cuddle it when you finished. Did you do that? It’s worth the ink, I promise.

      • @Pam:

        Umm, no. I didn’t cuddle my book. I did reformat it into html and post it for my sister to read…

        I don’t know if my crappy little printer would survive. My laser printer at work died a few days ago as well.

        Is it close enough if I cuddle up with a thumb drive that I save it on?

  2. With ART, I went through about four drafts between two and three, it was a few months break. Between the third and final, I jumped right in and did the rewrite, then jumped into the editing. Timing was an issue with that one, since the editor wanted it pretty quick. I’m sure it would have been even better to give it a few weeks, then come back for final edits. It does allow you to come back with fresh eyes. Once you stare at a story long enough, it all starts to blend together 🙂

    Themes for ART were forgiveness, overcoming guilt, and letting go of dreams. At least that’s what I took from it. I think readers can take their own themes from stories too. In SS, the big themes are gradually emerging, one of which is faith, also loyalty and unconditional love.

    • I am actually enjoying the break somewhat. I *wish* I had an editor that was pushing me to finish.

      I now have two ideas for my next story. One is a sci-fi setting with computer hackers. The other idea is picking up after TPtP with Sari’s story.

      Hmm. TPtP. That acronym can be taken out of context in a fairly unflattering way. Need to rename, quicky!

  3. With my most recent novel, I wrote the second draft while I finished the story. I got about halfway done, and then school started. Now I’m writing the second half of the second draft on weekends and holidays. So, I didn’t really take a break between first and second drafts, possibly because I’m now obsessed with it. If I’m away from it too long, I feel like I have spiders crawling all over my insides.

    My novels so far have the same theme – love, and how far we’ll go to protect it.

    • Spiders? That sucks. I am getting a bit restless, but I am sating that need with critting other’s stories. I also bought a new book for my kindle. “A Song of Fire and Ice”. The first book, actually. $5 on kindle. I figure after about 10 books I will have paid for the kindle in the money I save on the books.

      I am actually rolling around thoughts of the next story as well. That also keeps the itch at bay for now.

  4. I always try to give at least a month between drafts. It really does make all the difference!

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