Writing a Screenplay: Part 3 of 4 – Second Drafts

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Writing a Screenplay: Part 3 of 4 – Second Drafts

The second draft is all about editing the completed first draft. Experienced writers go through the first draft looking for several types of writing mistakes. Spelling errors, grammar problems, run on sentences and paragraphs that need rewrites all get addressed in one pass. Then they set it aside for a short time, review it again and call it final.

Many writers don’t stop at one pass through the first draft. Some go through it again and again tweaking the story and making corrections. I’m one of those. I continue going over the piece until I have a pass where I can only find minor corrections and then I call it final.


All the details of technically correct writing could fill a book. Several books. There are many style guides available. Perhaps the best ever written is Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style”. It’s only about 128 pages long and you can find it at all major booksellers. The original was by William Strunk only and you can browse the full text for free here.

If you do a search for writing tips, you will find thousands of writers putting out articles to help you write better. Where did they learn it? Trial, error and books. Lots of books. Amazon has close to one million books on writing. Don’t despair if you feel like you’re not a good enough writer to do your own editing. Keep reading and writing. Every author must write a lot before producing good quality marketable work.

Orson Scott Card has said, “Since every writer has about ten thousand pages of utter drivel in them, you might as well start now so you can get a good portion of that out of your way while you’re still young. After all, you learn more about writing from writing a 100,000 word manuscript than you ever will from any writing class or writing book.” Read the entire interview here.

Do the best you can. Just as your writing will improve with practice, so will your editing skills.

Formatting Revisited

I searched my favorite screenwriting sites and picked out some good articles on screenwriting. More than you need to know to get started.

All About Screenwriting – “Basic Screenplay Structure

Writers Store – “Formatting Scripts to Sell

Screenwriting Secrets – “Script Format Sample

What About My Word Count?

I said I had ways around the low daily word count I get when I work on second drafts. It’s one of the methods I use to prevent writer’s block. I have several projects on the go at once. By switching between preparation, first draft writing and second draft editing/revising, my daily word count is fairly steady.

The next article will deal with the final draft.

Article by Ivan Izo.


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