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Discussion: The Art of Redrafting

Second Draft

Today’s topic comes from QSFers Kelly Jensen and EJ Runyon:

I learned the art of redrafting. Rewriting. Sometimes it’s easier to let go of a few paragraphs or even a whole scene, than to try editing it to make it work. Better to start fresh–convey the idea you want to express in a completely new way. That scene is almost always being cut/edited because it doesn’t work or it’s unnecessary. Trying to make it work will just make it stick out like a broken thumb.

I just finished the second draft of a novella I’ve been working on for about a month. For me, I find that I tend to use second drafts to layer in more detail – my first drafts are often really skimpy on this – and to smooth out dialogue and overall readability.

So my questions to y’all today – how do you do second drafts? Do you rewrite scenes wholesale? Tweak and massage? Or do you write it “right” the first time?

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