Yes, the second draft should be shorter than the first draft.
The truth behind this is that, in general, shorter writing is better.
The example I have used before is that as sentences get longer, the tenancy is to ad adverbs.
Ok sentence: “Most adverbs are simply unnecessary.”
Better sentence: “Adverbs are unnecessary.”
I mean, what a great formula here we have below.
Of course, we could rewrite it, putting the 10% on the other side of the equation, but then we would probably just start losing people.
Few among us want to look at the math of it all.
Anyway, it’s true. I wrote a novel once and cut nearly 50% of what I originally wrote.
It was a novella by the time I was done.
I mean, by the time you take out all the adverbs you are half way there.
And what a good description for someone’s writing: “Puffy.”
Let’s write shorter, and better.
Jotted below the machine-generated signature of the editor was this mot: “Not bad, but PUFFY. You need to revise for length. Formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft –10%. Good luck.”
-Stephen King, On Writing