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."
"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 challenges of going back to the story Turning Points, modifying and refining them also makes me a more determined writer. 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."
"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.
"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.
Thirdly, its good to have an audience. To try to communicate idea to others and trust they understand what you’re writing and in return provide a thoughtful or emotional response. It’s a gift to see my idea excite and inspire others, as much to know when my ideas confuse or bore them.
Fourthly, it’s great to meet interesting and lovely people."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Eight Month Novel & Script: Second Draft Course - Live and Online
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WRITING YOUR SECOND DRAFT
FEBRUARY 10 TO SEPTEMBER 15, 2013
This course is now fully booked.
Starts with two full days where you re-envision the spine of your story:
1) SUNDAY FEBRUARY 10 from 10.00am to 6.00pm
2) SATURDAY FEBRUARY 16 from 10.00am to 6.00pm.
3) Seven monthly sessions from 2.00pm to 6.00pm where you detail your story so that the dramatic logic of your story works from beginning to end:
COURSE FEE - LIVE COURSE: $2395 - (inclusive of GST) Please contact Kathleen for payment options.
Dates: Sunday March 17, Sunday April 21, Sunday May 19, Sunday June 23, Sunday July 21,Sunday August 18, Sunday September 15 & Dinner on us.
COURSE FEE - TOTALLY ONLINE: $1995 (inclusive of GST)
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.
WRITING IS RE-WRITING
"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."
A MESSY FIRST DRAFT
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.
This course is designed to:
Many people only really start connecting with their story and falling in love with it in the Second Draft.
A Three-Draft Process
The First Draft: Is for the Writer: Writing a first draft is a time 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.
Second Draft Dangers
Writing a second draft presents many challenges and 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.
Many novice writers when attempting a second draft actually make their first draft significantly worse. John Truby, a Hollywood script consultant and teacher, described this “as one of the dirty secrets of Hollywood.”
They re-write their story behind closed doors, following their instincts and getting bogged down in the details. Losing sight of the big picture and often fail to find the spine of the story.
Another danger is that by following structure slavishly and attempting to shape a story by rigidly re-ordering plot events in detail, the story goes flat, becomes uneven and loses its organic heart.
The trouble with both these approaches is that they mix up the Second and Third Draft processes.
We believe the best approach is to analyse your story at different levels, starting with the big picture and working down. You can't focus on the details until you get the deep structure of your story working.
Note. You need to have the structure of your story working in the Second Draft before focusing on the quality of the writing and making each scene as good as they can be in your Third Draft, a separate process.
HOW THE Second Draft WORKS
This course provides a step-by-step process to avoid the above pitfalls, allowing you to work through the re-writing process systematically, maintaining the dance between structure and imagination.
Many people totally transform their stories and take them to a whole new and sometimes unexpected and inspiring level.
During the course, you will:
You will produce a work that has a strong spine where the plot, character journey and theme all work together to create a cohesive whole that resonates with your readers at a deep level.
A cohesive structure that is beyond the scope of a First Draft.
As we said above, you can expect at least a 200 percent improvement from your First Draft to your Second Draft.
Scroll down to see some testimonials (there are others in the right hand column) and an outline of the course.
LORD OF THE RINGS
This is what J. R.R. Tolkien, wrote in a letter to W. H. Auden, 7 June, 1955
"I met a lot of things on the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never before been to Bree. Strider sitting in the corner at the inn was a shock, and I had no more idea who he was than had Frodo. The Mines of Moria had been a mere name; and of Lothlorien no word had reached my mortal ears till I came there. Far away I knew there were the Horselords on the confines of an ancient Kingdom of Men, but Fangorn Forest was an unforseen adventure. I had never heard of the House of Eorl nor of the Stewards of Gondor. Most disquieting of all, Saruman had never been revealed to me, and I was as mystified as Frodo at Gandalf's failure to appear on September 22."
When Tolkien finished his first draft, he looked at his ending and worked back to the beginning to make sure it all connected up and the ending paid off.
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 characters' emotion and voice and help bring your writing to life on the page.
THE LIVE COURSE
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 ONLINE COURSE
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.
WHAT IF YOU WANT TO WRITE A NEW STORY
What if you want to write a different story from your first draft?
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.
Whether you are doing the course live or online, you don't want to get bogged down writing the perfect second draft.
The online course is a little more flexible time-wise, but we encourage you to complete your Second Draft in the eight months.
The Third Draft is where the focus is on the writing. You will have your work critiqued in detail. The goal being to make your writing as good as it can be.
Four important points to remember: