Wednesday, April 04, 2012


For me there's something about finishing a second draft that brings a sense of relief I rarely get with other drafts.

Why is that? It's because for me the second draft is where I iron out those major imperfections, correct the gaping holes in the plot and fix those one dimensional characters. It's the draft where the idea finally finds its shape and I know once it's done it'll be all down hill from there.

The first draft is all about getting the story out on the page. I'm not worrying about if this works, or if that works, I'm just concerned with getting it finished, because it's easier to fix something that's crap and written than it is to fix something that isn't yet on paper. For me the second draft is where the majority of the work will be carried out.

The second draft is where the screenplay's major faults are addressed and corrected and once done I know my screenplay will never again be as bad as the first draft. Every draft after the second will be easier than the last, with fewer and fewer changes and tweaks needed to be done.

I always hate starting a second draft, in fact they terrify me to the point where I sometimes actively avoid them with my own spec work. If I'm writing for someone else I can't avoid those silly little second drafts, so I just have bite the bullet and throw myself into them. I think it's the scale of work the second draft always involves which brings the terror. It's the fear that maybe somehow I won't fix the screenplay's problems, but actually make them worse. It never happens of course, but the fear always surfaces none the less.

The relief of finishing a second draft is like cycling up a mountain and reaching the peak, knowing you can now freewheel down the other side. It's the only part of a second draft I actually enjoy and I'm ecstatic when I see it.

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