What Writing Process? Or…When Your Second Draft Feels More Like a First

I’m working on the second draft of my historical YA. Last week, I passed the 50-page mark and did a little dance of joy. Partially because of the page count, but in a big way, because the writing of that week’s scenes had gone so well. As in fast. With the words pouring out.

Yeah, like a first draft.

It’s the second draft, so maybe you’re thinking you should be asking me this: But aren’t you revising? Well, yes. And, no.

Back here, when I finished Draft 1, I talked about the big discovery of that draft-that I had two stories going, not one. With, very possibly, two different heroes. In other words, two books.

So, yes, in a way, I’m revising–I am working with a seriously different plot. My hero’s goal has become much more sharply defined. (Um, maybe because she’s not as confused as I was during the whole last draft?!) So, story? Yes, that’s in the revision stage.

Scenes? Not so much. Yes, my plot has my hero going to some of the same places, meeting the same people, having similar arguments as she did before. But the focus/angle/slant/WHATEVER of these scenes-the why she’s there and the where she needs to go after–that’s all different. So different that I’m not opening up a single original scene to make changes in. I’m writing new.

Could I beat myself up about this? Oh, yeah, I so could. I could tell myself that I should have written that first-first draft ten times as fast. I could tell myself that I still haven’t done reasearch to the point I thought I needed to, to make myself happy writing this draft. I could tell myself that I didn’t learn a thing about who my hero was the first time through; I only learned about who she wasn’t. I couldย look at the calendar and beat myself up for how soon this draft isn’t going to be done. I could do all that, if I let myself get sucked into the idea that there is one way to write a book, even just one way for a particular writer to write a book.

Which, of course, there isn’t.

So, I’m diving back into scenes this week, and I’m going to write my somewhere-in-the-middle-of-a-first-and-second-draft version of story. And you know what else I’m going to do? I’m going to enjoy the ride.

Here’s to you and whatever your writing process may be…this week! ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Oh, writing, re-writing, and somewhere-in-the-middle is my plight! I’m juggling getting my book, Out of Breath published as we speak. My second book, No Ordinary Girl (at least that’s today’s official title- hah!) is on it’s first revision but I’m practically paralyzed because I have a new plot twist and so, do I move forward and keep writing or do I go back and revise the first 170 pages? Ack!! Also, I have an idea for a parenting book because I’m a counselor by trade, taught some heavy duty parenting classes, counselor for 12 years, etc…yes, what to do first? I LOVE the ride! Whenever I write, anything for that matter, a blog entry, a page, a paragraph on my new book, or even a short story that consumes me, I pop up refreshed and alive. I’m a happier mommy, a more attentive wife, a funnier human being. Have fun on your ride.


    • beckylevine says:

      Your new plot twist sounds similar to what I went through, except it was an original plot direction not fitting with the stuff I was falling in love with about my hero as I wrote. I pushed myself to write through to the end, because I felt I needed to do that to actually figure out/understand what was going on. I think I was right, but I’ll tell you, I didn’t spend a lot of TIME writing that ending the first time through. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Good luck and have a fun ride, too!


  2. I think you’re brave — and right — to start fresh. I sometimes try too hard to save something, and that itself is a huge waste of time. But it does take courage to set all those existing words aside.

    Go, you!


    • beckylevine says:

      Well, the existing words weren’t all that great, but… yeah, it’s tricky. It’s also just weird having spent this much time on it and having that feeling of I THINK I’m heading in the right direction, but can’t tell for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks, Amy. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Great post. Thanks for the encouragement to enjoy the ride. How right you are. I’m actually starting to get that idea–realizing that writing a book is a long-haul process and that it’s not all about the product. The process is just as important.


  4. beckylevine says:

    It is that long-haul thing that takes some getting used to. And if we’re not enjoying it, at least SOME of the time, then that’s a problem. ๐Ÿ™‚


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