You pour your heart and soul into the first draft. Your mind fires rapidly as words, sentences, paragraphs and scenes flow onto the page. Then, oh, then – you begin edits. You tinker with things. You flesh out characters. You layer in background information. And suddenly you realize it’s not enough.
To be true to the story and the characters you must do away with certain aspects, no matter how brilliantly written they are. It becomes apparent you’ve taken the long way toward a goal and it makes more sense to take the shortcut, or vice versa. Either way, you must let go of beloved sentences, paragraphs and sometimes entire scenes. Only then will you truly have a second draft.
It’s not easy. You change one thing then realize you’ll have to change another and another and another all while keeping your characters on the path that leads to the climax.
Did I mention it’s brutal?
So what makes us return to our craft day after day? It would be much easier to scrap the project and writing altogether. Surely we could find something else to occupy our time.
The only answer I can surmise is passion. We are passionate about the stories in our head. To deny our passion causes misery.
So, we release our stories, word after word, sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph, scene after scene, chapter after chapter. And when it comes time to edit we hack away at our creation. We add filament and filler. We massage the story, the plot and the characters until they stand on their own.
The mixture of euphoria and agony that goes into writing will always call to us. We passionate writers will willingly become slaves to our passion over and over. When the time comes to scrap that beloved scene we shall do so ruthlessly; we will bear the pain stoically because what’s best for the story will always come first.