Second Draft Testimonials

 "There was a class where Roland wanted to work on everyone’s Turning Points and Story Summaries.

I don’t want to heap too much praise on Roland, but I loved the class because it showed all the other stories. I understood them clearly and it was exciting. And with Andrew’s input we also learnt to have action, emotion, setup, complication, payoff. I love the structure.

I thought it really brought out all the possibilities, drama and the stakes go through the roof. It’s very exciting when you come out the other side with stuff you didn’t think was possible."
Fred Talib

"The Second Draft Course instilled in me a kind of writing discipline. It forced my mind to travel from the highest level to the lowest and back up again. I like the thematic logic theory that helps underpin the structure of the story making the parts cohesive.

The process helped me clarify the story and work out what’s important and what I need to let go off. I think I have the spine of the story now ready for the Third Draft. Thank you Roland and Andrew."
Wallace Lee

"The Second Draft has taught me many things. Key – to dig as deep as you possibly can.

Don’t be afraid to really let go and explore your fantasy world. As Virginia Woolf said, “Dreams, memories and fantasies are as important as actions and thoughts.”

And discipline – it’s taken me this long to develop a healthy writing habit and to know that writing everyday is what develops a sound structure to build on.
Kim MCrae

"The Second Draft Course is a safe place where ideas can be played with, allowed to fail or soar, without fear.

Secondly, it’s a way to stay accountable, to at least produce something to a timetable when life keeps getting in the way.

It’s a gift to see my idea excite and inspire others, as much to know when my ideas confuse or bore them."
Ben Allard

"The first pleasant revelation when I began the Second Draft Course was that there was actually a story there. I realised that the first draft helped me to come up with the geography of my story but that the details of the landscape had to be crafted anew.

So I began the story from scratch again, scene 1, line 1, word one. It is so much better than my first draft was and now the road is much straighter and easier to negotiate."
Kim Williams

"What I am learning about the second draft? That it's about unwinding what's been included in the first draft. Picking out the forces and pivotal points and situations. Letting go of what went in the first draft and refusing to get attached.

Really detailing the world. Not writing about everything, but what you do write about is in detail focusing on the spine of the story."
Dave Moon

"So far in the Second Draft Course I've truly discovered the flexibility of my story.

It feels like I keep bending it, tugging at corners to yield new ideas, and it always seems to snap back into shape, more interesting and mysterious but still faithful to the spirit of the first draft. The first draft now really seems like a snake skin that's been shed.

The second draft is a more enjoyable experience insofar as it feels more controlled, more of a proper story and less the rambling of my imagination set loose. I am discovering new possibilities and embracing them all."
Marie-Hélène Jennings

Eight Month Novel & Script: Second Draft Course - Live and Online

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2015 DATES



PRE-REQUISITE: Novel & Script First Draft Course Live or Online

Expect at least a 200 percent improvement from your First Draft to your Second Draft.


testimonials"I must confess to being a bit skeptical when Roland said the Second Draft would improve my story 200%. After all I had just spent a year driving my story forward , putting my hapless main character under intense pressure and finding out, at the end, how my story ended. Boy, that was a revelation.

How could the Second Draft improve my story that much? And I am happy to report I was right  the Second Draft course didn’t improve my story 200%. It actually improved it 1000%!

Irrelevancies were discarded, subsidiary characters came to life and revealed formerly hidden depths, events took on an internal logic and my main character, Aaron Stern, deepened and broadened before my astonished eyes.

And I saw the same thing happen with everyone else’s stories as well, under Roland’s benign but implacable direction – forcing us and our stories to be better than we ever dreamed we or they could be. Thanks from me and Aaron."
Gilbert Mane


studioLIVE COURSE:  $2395 - (inclusive of GST)

 We do have payment options for this course. Please click on the link below to see the options.



Please read terms, conditions & deferments policy before booking onto this course


onlinephotoTOTALLY ONLINE: $1995 (inclusive of GST)

We do have payment options for this course. Please click on the link below to see the options.



Please read terms, conditions & deferments policy before booking onto this course.



PRE - COURSE WORK: As soon as payment has been made you will be sent out work to complete before you start on February 8. This will include a series of templates to flesh out and explore your story in more depth and to see it from all your major characters' POV. You will also be sent a character "bible" to flesh out your main characters.


SUNDAY, 8 February 2015 -  Workshop 1 - 10.00am to 6.00pm
Saturday, 14 February 2015 - Workshop 2 including TP 1 to TP 2 - 10.00am to 6.00pm
Saturday, 14 March 2015 - Session 1 - TP 2 to TP 3
SUNDAY, 12 April 2015 -  Session 2 - TP 3 to TP 4
Saturday, 9 May 2015 - Session 3 - TP 4 to TP 5
Saturday, 20 June 2015 - Session 4 - TP 5
Saturday, 18 July 2015  - Session 5 - TP 6 Battle A
Saturday, 15 August 2015 -  Session 6 - TP 6 Battle B
Saturday, 12 September 2015 -  Session 7 - TP 7 & Dinner


PROCESS-1A Three-Draft Process

The First Draft: Writing a first draft is where you discover the possibilities of your story. You need to let go and hang out there in the uncertainty. 

The Second Draft: Is where you nail your story down so it works as an organic whole.

The Third Draft: For the Reader: Is where you craft the writing so you make ever scene work, indeed take pains to ensure every word is doing its job.

We write to re-write.

"Finishing a first draft doesn't make you a novelist. Anyone can do the rough draft of a novel and it probably won't look much worse than the first draft of any good novel you can name.

 "The difference between anyone and a serious writer is re-writing, re-writing and more re-writing, some times over a period of years. I can't emphasise strongly enough how important this is, that writing leads to writing, that failed attempts lead to eventual success, that the solution of writing problems is made up of all the attempts that lead nowhere...

"The trouble is that when you're just beginning to write, you may believe that words committed to paper are sacred, fixed, immutable. But you're not dealing with a finished, printed, copyrighted book; only with an idea, a pile of words that change shape many times before they take shape as a book."
Dorothy Bryant

Writing a second draft requires a very different mindset, skill set and process to the first draft. Without a step-by-step process, accountability and constructive feedback along the way, you can easily go off track and waste a huge amount of time.

THE Second Draft

This course provides a step-by-step process that allows you to work through the re-writing process systematically. Most people totally transform their stories, taking them to a whole new level.

As Fred Talib, one participant, said. "I thought it really brought out all the possibilities, drama and the stakes go through the roof. It’s very exciting when you come out the other side with stuff you didn’t think was possible."

The Second Draft is significantly different to the First Draft. You have much more control over your story and are able to delve much deeper into your story and characters.

During the course, you will: 

  • Before you start the course, you will use templates to explore your story from two or three of your other main characters to ensure that the characters are driving your story.

  • Find and clarify the spine of your story. This is where your "story concept" will really pop to a level that is way beyond the scope of your first draft.
  • Work through the spine and craft your novel or screenplay one step, one scene at a time so that your story works logically and dramatically from beginning to end. You will dig much deeper into your story and characters than was possible in your first draft and fill in all the missing gaps.
  • Do targeted writing exercises that will help you explore the dramatic and emotional world of your story, help you find your character's voice and bring your writing to life on the page. These exercises take everyone's writing to another level.

You will produce a work that has a strong dramatic spine. The action, character journey and theme will all work together to create a cohesive structure that will resonate with readers. This is way beyond the scope of a First Draft.

At the end of her course, Jan Christie wrote, "The second draft has made me acutely aware of the gaps in my story, things I thought I'd deal with later. Well, later is now and I have to deal with them before I move on.

"The clear methodical spine in the second draft has been instrumental in highlighting, sometimes in an acutely uncomfortable way, what works and what doesn't. But in the process I've discovered new characters, new motivations, depth to both people and situations that wasn't there before. It's a challenge, but it's also lots of fun."

Don't let what you perceive as the lack of quality of your first draft put you off. You don't have to go back and make your First Draft more complete.

Many people only really start connecting with their story and falling in love with it in the Second Draft.


"When Roland said at the beginning of the Second Draft that our stories would become at least 200% better I, like my protagonist, was a skeptic. However, after this eight-month journey I can say that he was right and I think he grossly underestimated the percent of improvement for the whole class.

Learning to let go of my pre-conceived story ideas each month was difficult. There was always pressure to increase the pressure on the characters to let them become all that they could be. At this point the critical feedback I get at each class is my favourite part of the work we do. I am looking forward to the third draft even more."
Clare Gillis

"Second drafts are enormously easier than the first draft. Second drafts are about the 80/20 tweaks required to get the story structure right. Second drafts are not about setting out on some hopeless, aimless journey with no end in sight and hoping you arrived unscathed with the beginnings of a book under one arm. First draft anxiety level = 7/10. Second draft = 4/10. This time I am confident that a) I am getting somewhere and b) it is better than the time before. I am noticing the quality of the writing improve as the characters emerge and the plot crystallizes."
Emma Beames

"This course took the explorations and trail blazing of my first draft and harnessed it into a solid story line. Encouraged and guided by Andrew and Roland, I jettisoned sections without fear, plunged into the unknown, and beat unwieldy sections into submision. I could not have imagined that I would be have written such an exciting second draft. The prospect of a great third draft looms and the only hands I would trust to guide me along that path would be that of The Writers' Studio team.
Lucas Welsch (who did the Second Draft Course online)



You will start the process by finding a fresh Seven Turning Point Spine (this is more organic than the Eight Turning Points in the First Draft course). 

Even though your story can and will continue to evolve, the Seven Turning Points you come up with in the first session will clarify the story you want to tell and provide a solid spine for your Second Draft.


Once you have identified your Seven Turning Points, you will systematically work through each of the Turning Points one at a time by creating Story Steps, Sequences and Scenes.

The sequences, which are very different from the sequences used in the First Draft, create the dramatic spine of the Story Step. This extra layer of structure enables you to take what you have in your first draft and really flesh it out. 

As well as focusing on the structure for each Turning Point, you will also do a series of writing exercises that will develop your connection to your character's emotion and voice and help bring your writing to life on the page. 



In each session you will work on the structure from one Turning Point to the next and do most of the heavy planning in class.

This allows you to really concentrate on the writing at home.


The course materials and process are identical to the live class. You will work through the course material, post scenes on your personal Writers' Board and post work on the Second Draft Steps Board to interact with your online tutor as you systematically work your way through each step. 

You will also be invited to connect to a monthly conference call with your tutor and other writers.


The vast majority of people continue working on the story from the first draft. However, if you feel it necessary to write another story, you can develop a new story from scratch. We will give you tools and materials to enable you to flesh out your story idea and characters before you begin.