First to Second Draft

I always highly suggest rewriting the first draft to fill in all missing details. The second draft is best done as a rewrite.

The only caveat to that being a really skilled author (for either story line or genre) and a really detailed plot. If you have a good enough outline, you won’t need to rewrite the entire story. Just a few scenes here and there.

[Writer’s Stuff] [About Cat Hartliebe]

I’d still recommend it, but it’s not required like for most.

Especially the opening scene. If you think the scene is useful and needed and making an impact, keep it. Just rewrite it so it’s stronger and more capable of drawing your audience.

This is my plans for Teen Test Train before I start posting it. It has a really bad opening. For pantsers like me, our openings will need several rewrites. One is essential. Three is more likely.

For the bad day I’m having, I decided to improve the opening to my comfort story Organization. It’s about 700k words total currently. Maybe a little under set up in 10 different missions. I was planning on just reading it as comfort. But the opening bothers me. It has ever since I finished mission three. I finally put the time- short as it was- into rewriting the opening. Strictly the opening.

I made it into a full scene not a telling of a scene. And I proved my skills as a writer have improved since I first wrote this story.

Proof? Right? You guys want proof.

Okay. Just the opening scene that I am rewriting.


Mission 1: Magic

Chapter 1

I am a simple maiden. I barely reached sixteen when the orphanage told me that if I did not work and bring in money I could not get a roof over my head. My choice was simple. I stopped reading and writing books and went into town. Sometimes I would do odd jobs to earn enough to buy a new book, but this time I have to give my money back to the orphanage. I sigh looking at the marketplace in full swing. I came too late or too early. No one will talk to me right now. I walk about listening to the market goers and salesmen.


Poor, right? Let’s show off the first attempt at rewriting. Realizing, they’ll probably be another.


Chapter 1

“Arianna Staton!”

I turn to the matron of the orphanage. She’s not exactly in her prime anymore. Still her stalk over has me hiding my book underneath. Please say this one won’t be taken too. I’ve lost too many books lately. “I finished my chores already, Matron.” I duck my head flinching.

She raises a hand but does not connect. “You are sixteen years of age. You cannot just stay here without providing for yourself. You are nearly an adult. Prove that and get a job. Find a new home. We will only watch you for another two years.” She leaves me grumbling about money.

I pull my book back out and make sure the pages are in good shape before closing it properly. “Get a job?”

So it is my birthday today. I did turn sixteen. Which is the legal age to work in the country of English. I wasn’t expecting to have it be a requirement, though. With my things closed in my small nook, I head out into the day.

I woke early today. It was to finish my chores, which were set to half because it’s my birthday. I wanted to clear everything and spend the day reading in the safe confines of my bed.

Turns out my destination is the market. Which is already in full swing. How am I to find a job in this chaos? It’s not that I never worked before. There has been a few odd jobs swept under the table so I could get a book or buy something delicious. I lie. I only found work to have the money for a book. The gruel from the orphanage is plenty.


Much longer. Much more detailed. More events happening. More knowledge.

I end up doing rewrites that adds a bunch of words. It seems to be a 40% addition from first to second. Because I expand scenes like this.

I don’t know if I’ll keep rewriting or if I’ll just read. Might be both.

Bad days lead me to comfort reading. And this is what came to mind. For reasons I won’t get into.

I hope you take my suggestion, though. Rewriting is your friend. It can make a scene so much better. You automatically think of a better way of writing the scene. You don’t have to worry about getting to the next scene. That’s done already. The rest of the book is already written. You can focus on making this one shine.

Rewrite a first draft. That’s the best form for a second.


[Writer’s Stuff] [About Cat Hartliebe] [Cat Hartliebe’s Books]

If you want me to feel better buy one of my books. Or play my game: [Let’s Play a Game!]

2 thoughts on “First to Second Draft”

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