Turns out I was incorrect in stating that the first draft of my current short story was 6,800. There were about 400 words worth of notes I had forgotten to remove from the file, so it was actually 6,400–still about where I predicted it would be, though.
Getting rid of that pesky Procrastination Fairy didn’t go as smoothly as I thought it would, but eventually the little bugger was dispensed with. I’m sure she’ll zombify and pull her antics again, but in the meantime, the second draft has been progressing nicely. I think I might have even come up with a non-sucktastic title.
I kind of love second drafts. The second draft is when I get to go back and discover that my first draft wasn’t nearly as crappy as I thought it was. I have a tendency to want things to be the perfect the first time, which is something I have to let go of with first drafts. Otherwise they’d either never get finished, or I’d suffocate all the spontaneity and discovery that makes writing so fun in the first place. Yet recently, I’ve found myself getting antsy in first drafts because I wasn’t including enough setting or sensory detail. Working on the second draft of this story reminded me of two things I had forgotten (probably because I haven’t been cranking out short stories as much as I used to): 1) it’s easier for me to include the appropriate setting and detail when there’s a plot there to hang it on, and 2) I have far more fun doing it that way, I think because I have a better idea of what will be relevant, what can help reveal story and character, and what will work within the pacing. In some ways it’s like fitting the proper pieces into a puzzle to make a picture. And I love puzzles.