I am still rewriting my story and simultaneously translating it from German to English. Remember? I am glad I decided to do this.
When I started I assumed that I would be able to improve the story, but I couldn't imagine how much I have to fix. Not plot-wise, but with regards to storytelling. I had far too much telling in it and not remotely enough showing. Additionally, some characters needed development in order to keep up with their assignment.
However, I realized there is another angle to it, that I wasn't aware before. I already knew that I am an inbetweener, something between plotter and discovery writer, and that I develop the plot during the breaks in the middle of the story. Going back through stories I wrote so far, I noticed that my first drafts always tend to be very short. I mean really short.
I write my first drafts in a kind bare bones approach. Of course, there are side tracks and various characters, but outside the main characters and the central plot they are flat and colorless. It's the bare minimum to tell the story.
You could also call it an extensive plot.
Please don't misunderstand me, there's nothing wrong with this approach. It simply means more work during the rewriting phase. It's a little like painting - first you do a sketch with a pencil and afterwards you color it. An then again it also means further backload the work.
How it works out? See for your self, how the first lines evolved:
"He had heard about the death sentence years ago on one of these old pirate radio stations. He knew this would be his last day. The night had already fallen and there was only a small sickle of purple left on the horizon. He had noticed the lights a while ago. Like fireflies they were crawling down the hill on the other side of the lake.
"Here they come. You are late guys, years late. Even for Argentinian benchmarks, you are late."
His chuckle turned into a cough."
Not yet there, but a whole better than the first draft.
Your writer in a foreign land