Is it a bad idea to linger too long on a first draft?

Asked by: Jayson Anderson

How long should you leave a first draft?

The Writing Co-operative suggest 4-6 weeks as a good break. Curtis Brown suggest 2 weeks. I’d say as long as it takes you to get some distance.

How long should a first draft screenplay be?

The general answer is 80-120 pages. There are a ton of exceptions to the rule, but if you’re a first-time writer, those are the parameters most producers want to see your script stay within.

How do you fix a bad first draft?

How to Edit a Terrible First Draft

  1. Finish It. The story must be complete. …
  2. Revise for Major Structure. …
  3. Revise for Setting. …
  4. Revise for Character Action. …
  5. Revise for Scene Structure. …
  6. Revise for Elegant Prose (or at least, less terrible writing) …
  7. Typos and Other Line Editing. …
  8. Another Read Through.

Does a first draft have to be perfect?

We repeat: Your first draft does not have to be perfect. There will be typos, misspelled words, misuse of grammar and punctuation, and run-on sentences. That’s okay. These are all things that can be fixed later.

What should I do after my first draft?

What to do After You Finish the First Draft of Your Book

  1. Let it rest. This part can be the most difficult. …
  2. Read it all the way through, once. …
  3. Revise. …
  4. Read it through again — out loud. …
  5. Make any final revisions. …
  6. Write a synopsis. …
  7. Write a query letter. …
  8. Figure out who to send the query letter to and go out on submission.

How long does it take to write a second draft?

Compared to my fast first drafts, the second draft is sloooooooow. Anywhere from three to nine months slow. (At least, that feels really, really slow to me.)

How long is a script for a 2 hour movie?

The general rule of thumb is that a screenplay written in the proper format is equivalent to one page per minute of screen time. Therefore, a screenplay for a two-hour movie will be 120 pages (2 hrs = 120 mins = 120 pages).

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How long is a script for a 90 minute movie?

Scripts written in proper screenplay format average a page per minute. A feature is roughly an hour-and-a-half – two hours long. Thus the 90 – 120 page rule. Screenwriting books and expensive screenwriting gurus will all tell you that scripts should fall within the 90-120 page rule.

Can you write a screenplay in one day?

Because there are many people who for years have been in love with the idea of being a screenwriter—but they’ve never finished writing even one screenplay. This fixes that in one day. Granted it’s not a screenplay that totally came out of your imagination—but it’s a start. (And it might take you all day—as in 24 hours.

How long should a rough draft be?

How long should a rough draft be? A rough draft should be about as long as the final version. Many writers tend to overwrite their first drafts. This can actually work in your favor, giving you more usable material to choose from.

What should you avoid while writing your first draft?

Avoid trying to write perfect sentences and paragraphs (polishing). Don’t worry about being repetitive or boring. Avoid making your writing eloquent, stylistic or succinct in the first draft: you can revise and improve your writing as your rework later drafts.

Can a rough draft be incomplete?

It does not have to be perfectly formatted, in complete sentence form or edited – you will fix those problems in the second draft and/or final draft. The rough is more about crafting your argument than polishing it, and thus may include incomplete thoughts or ideas laid out in outline format.

Is it normal to hate first draft?

But writers often hate writing the first draft, too— it just depends what day you ask them, because writing a first draft is hard. Sometimes you get stuck and getting even a single word out is about as painful as repeatedly watching a Teletubbies episode with your eyes taped open.

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Is the first draft the hardest?

The first step is always the hardest and when it comes to writing, that step can seem insurmountable. Getting the first draft of your story on paper is the single hardest part of writing a novel and the hurdle at which most people fall.

What should a first draft look like?

A first draft is a preliminary version of a piece of writing. During the first draft, the author attempts to develop the main characters and flesh out the plot ideas of their work, uncovering their overarching themes in the process.

What is a second draft called?

Second Draft: The beginning of the editing phase. Also known as the structural edit, where you work on the global story arc, fill in the plot holes, omit and/or rewrite where needed.

Why is a first draft important?

During the drafting stage of writing, a student develops a more cohesive text and explores their topic, directed by purpose, audience, genre, and content. Drafting helps students expand upon, clarify, and modify their initial plans and ideas, and it helps them organize their content into a meaningful sequence or flow.

How do I start a second draft?

5 Tips for Editing Your Second Draft

  1. Take a break, then go through your draft with fresh eyes. Especially if this is your first novel, only start your second draft after you’ve had adequate time away from it. …
  2. Understand your chaos. …
  3. Break it up into separate goals. …
  4. Track your narrative. …
  5. Don’t proofread until the end.


What is a third draft?

After some time has passed from the second draft, the writer can readdress the story from a more objective viewpoint. The third draft is not another rewrite, but rather it is editing. The best way to approach a third draft is to change formats.

How long is a zero draft?

A zero draft somewhere in between a lengthy outline and your first draft. Zero drafts are significantly shorter than your book will end up being. Leigh Bardugo has shared that for Crooked Kingdom, the final book is around 100,000 words, but she first wrote a zero draft of about 30,000-40,000 words.

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Is a second draft a rewrite?

The second draft will be less hesitant than the first, it will be the version of the story you want it to be. But it won’t be the best version, and that is the best part of the rewrite.

How many drafts does a novel have?

With all this mind, there are generally four drafting steps to write a novel. Within each stage, writers may go through two or three separate drafts, sometimes more. Here’s how to follow these four stages to make your novel the best it can be.

How do you do a second draft in a screenplay?

How to Write a Second Draft

  1. Put the Script Away. First thing’s first, put the script away for a while. …
  2. Put on Your Critic Hat. After a few weeks/months you’re ready to take the draft out and give it a re-read. …
  3. List the Problems. …
  4. Cut Ruthlessly. …
  5. Find the Heart of Your Script. …
  6. Re-read Again and Problem Solve. …
  7. Summing Up.


Is a draft a rewrite?

Drafting means: ‘to draw up a preliminary plan for or version of’ and ‘to create by thinking and writing, to compose’. Rewriting means: ‘to write again, in a different or improved form’, ‘to make revisions in written material’ and ‘to put material into a suitable form’.

How do you respond to rewrites?


Second ask yourself what your key idea or your key meaning. Actually is and ask that question out loud rather than thinking in terms of writing think in terms of speaking.

At what stage do we do rewriting?

Once you’ve finished your first rough draft, you can start the rewriting process, taking everything you learned from the old version and using it to strengthen subsequent drafts. Rewriting is all about finding surprises along the way and starting to tease out the shape of your story.