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Prerequisite: 10-Month First Draft creative writing course.
The Second Draft Process
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 First Draft is where you find the possibilities of your story.
The Second Draft Course, with its step-by-step process, allows you to work through the re-writing and re-structuring of your first draft systematically to make your story work logically from beginning to end.
It is significantly different to the First Draft. Your character’s emotional journey drives the process. You pivot to focusing on making your story come alive and work dramatically for your readers.
Most people totally transform their stories when they get the action, character arc and theme working together. Expect at least a 200 percent improvement.
During the Second Draft course, you will:
• Develop the backstory and motivations of your other characters, not just your main character.
• Flesh out any additional point-of-view characters you would like to explore.
• Start to consider sub-plots and ensure the story is meaty enough to be a captivating novel.
• Discover the power of creating compelling moral problems to make sure you write active characters and create meaningful micro-tension at every level of the story.
• Get the action, emotion and theme of your story all working together as a cohesive whole to create a profoundly engaging experience for your reader.
One Writer’s Experience doing the Second Draft course
Below is an email one of our writers, Suzanne King, spontaneously sent us during the course.
“I wondered if you could publish the below review on your website? I feel strongly about the benefits of this course. It has been such a learning curve and has so significantly lifted my story, that I just had to tell the world about it!
“You might be tip-toeing around, wondering whether to commit to this course, but all I can say is – don’t think, just dive in! You will be in for an exhilarating ride. You will feel stretched emotionally and creatively as you climb a massive learning curve and grapple with new concepts and new ways to see your story with fresh eyes. You’re not alone though! Your tutor will be there every step of the way and really help you to dig deep and find how to make your story really shine.
“If anyone thinks they have a fairly good First Draft that just needs a polish and tweak – think again! It is only with hindsight that you will look back and see the truth about your First Draft; that it was an insipid, pale version, lacking the thrill, grit and intrigue that should be there to make sure that your reader keeps on reading!
“So this course will definitely result in you achieving a vastly improved story. All you have to do as a writer is hold on to your resolve to keep going, keep moving forward, shake off the desire to just focus on your First Draft story and allow your creativity to soar. You won’t regret it!”
Another Writer’s Experience
“Woah! there’s more to writing that I first imagined … this is really an art (so know your tools) and persist!! I used to think that a writer’s tools were paper, laptop and a place to write. Now I know that there is a ‘box’ full of ‘tools’ that a writer uses during the editing process,” Rosa Pastuale
Expect A Dramatic Improvement
Before the course begins you will be provided with a series of templates to flesh out and explore your story in more depth and explore your story from all your major characters’ points of view to ensure that the characters are driving your story.
When you enrol, you receive the pre-course work including:
- A template that enables you to see and explore your story from all your character’s point of view
- A character template that will enable you to dig deeper into your characters and flesh them out.
- Exercises to enable you to see the story from all your main characters’ point of view and expand your characters’ storylines.
- A setting template to help you flesh out your settings and how they impact your main character.
- Guidelines for research. Now is the time to look at research.
Your characters and their journey will drive your second draft
Expect at least a 200 percent improvement
- 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 at a time so that your story works logically and dramatically from beginning to end.
- Dig much deeper into your story and characters and flesh out any gaps
Jan Christie wrote, “The Second Draft Course 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.
Every month your tutor will offer group Zoom calls with other writers in your tutoring group to help you understand the process and make the structure of your story as good as it can be.
Part One: Finding the Organic Spine
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). The new turning points ensure that you have the action, character arc and theme all working together.
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.
Part Two: Writing the Second Draft
Systematically work through each of the Turning Points one at a time focusing on and maximising the drama, emotional depth and character development.
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. You have the option of joining a teleconference call with your tutor to workshop your structure, an edifying experience.
What if I want to write a Different Story?
The vast majority of people continue working on their story from the First Draft Course. However, if you feel it necessary to write another story, there is scope within the course to develop a new story from scratch.