How to Write the 2nd Draft | Prepping & Annotating Your Manuscript

Ahoy-hoy Everybody! The YouTube link here.

I’ve been hard at work reading through my manuscript. I have a notebook full of notes, and I can see the completion of my second draft in my sights. I thought it might be a good opportunity to share my methods. Hopefully you are able to take something helpful away from this.

So if you weren’t aware, I finished my first draft back in early September.  You can click here for my tips on how to get through the hurtles of writing your first draft.


I also want to mention to not read through your first draft until at least one month.  Two, if you can hold out! Click here to read about what a mess you will become if you break this cardinal rule. (I totally broke it.)

I printed my manuscript out. I stapled individual chapters. I read through the chapters making notes as I went. I wrote down feelings it brought out in me. I wrote whether I needed more description. I marked when something read awkwardly. I highlighted when certain characters or setting were first introduced.

All 292 pages of beauty! ❤


I found it helpful to do this with a chunk of chapters, then move on to the next step. I pulled out a crisp new notebook. Every two pages were dedicated to one chapter. I used my annotations to write down what structural edits I need to make. Having made notes on a few chapters at a time, made it easier to notice if a scene needed to be pushed forward or back. And to know whether my manuscript had the right feel, or if the pacing was off.


I wrote my notes in colour. No meaning behind each colour. It just felt cheery 🙂


I’ve come away with a massive to do list. But having it all laid out, makes the whole process seem less daunting. I’m lacking setting and character descriptions in Act 1. I need to move around a few scenes in Act 2. And Act 3, needs to stop being so dang weak!

It may seem like I’m ready for draft 2 now, right? But to me, it still feels like a bit of a mess. I’m going to take my original outline (click here to read about my outlining process) and my book-fulla-notes, and combine them into a new and improved outline. I may enlist the help of an excel spreadsheet to highlight where scenes should move back or forth.

Over the Christmas and New Years break I will be working on this, and hopefully by mid January I can redraft!

As always, You can follow along on YouTube. Link here.


How is working coming along on your WIP? Are you drafting, editing, beta-reading? Comment below or Tweet Me @queenemilicious. I’d love to discuss our work.

Em x


  1. How inspiring! I’ve rewritten the beginning of my story so many times and when I thought I’d finally moved on…I got really good input from an editor which sent me right back to make changes at the beginning…go figure. I’m pushing through the middle and hope to hit the climax and resolution soon!!! All the best, I’ll be following your progress!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. YAY! That’s like a step closer to getting that story out to the world ❤ I love seeing writers working so hard but loving all those long to-do lists. Also, I do agree on using colors for the notes, not for color-coding but simply to feel happy 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Yeah you have to love what you do, right? Why else do it! It is happy isn’t it. I have a colour coding system for outlining, so I may eventually create one for edits and revisions. But it doesn’t really matter in the long run. As long as you have the words.

      Liked by 1 person

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