I spent a lot of time recently going over and over the existing chapters of the second draft, tightening, tweaking, making it sing. I'm really pleased with the results. I feel this second draft, the portion already written, is very solid. It's what I had hoped the first draft would be.
Last night I worked on Chapter 8. I still have a little to add to it, but it's mostly done. After I had stopped work, I felt what I had written was terrible, but later when I read it over, I thought it was actually very good. So, the doubts will creep in, but are not reason to become discouraged. It seems the more I go over this story, the better I know it, and the better I can tell it. I make more connections now between scenes and especially the forces that drive character motivations. This deeper understanding shows up in each scene I write for this second draft.
As there are multiple scenes in most chapters, and the number of chapters and scenes is beginning to grow, I found it useful to update my Master Scene List, a table where I keep track of each scene in each chapter so I can tell at a glance what has happened and what needs to happen next. I compare what I am doing with what I did before, but I am not bound to follow the exact pattern from before. The idea in this second draft is that I am making minor reshuffles, adjusting the flow of scenes to enhance motivation and cause/effect. Also, as I mentioned in a previous posting, I'll be reshuffling one major portion of the story, moving it earlier where it will have a greater effect and set up more potential in other scenes that come later. Still, I need to refer to the Master Scene List from the first draft to remind me of the various scenes I'm working with. Some I can consolidate, some I can shuffle, some I can drop and replace with other ways of getting the story across. Eventually I will put some of my tables online with links for free download. I know I've been promising that for months; I will get to it eventually.
At this point I'll try to keep moving forward. I love tweaking text but enough is enough. There is much more to write to get this draft done, and I'm falling behind schedule, sacrificing speed for more polished results.