The first rewrite is mainly basic editing (grammar, sentence structure) and clean-up (confusing or excessive dialog, shifting segments around). That’s pure grind-it-out work. The second rewrite is even more work, but at least its fun!
Now is when I spend time filling in the plot holes, securing the story links and making the internal logic work. It’s one thing to ask my readers for suspension of disbelief (they’ll be plenty of that in Book Three), but it’s my responsibility to make sure I don’t require preposterous or story-stopping leaps of faith.
For the most part, I got that down in the first draft. Really. If the book didn’t have a beginning, middle and end that made some form of logical sense, I wouldn’t have been able to write it. I’m not that type of writer. My brain is weird, but reasonably linear.
What I do have, though, is the duty to make the foreshadowing rock-solid to the later events (or vice versa). I also have to ensure that whatever convention I am carrying throughout the book (a different one for each book) is consistent across all the chapters. Finally, I sometimes have to simply admit there’s a gaping hole and work to fill it in. For a concrete example of what that means, I needed to add three more chapters to make a couple of key instances flow better. The chapters are not focal points, per se, but they are necessary transitions or expansions for the needs of the story.
There is a delicate balance between “spelling out” too much and letting the reader use his own imagination. My feeling is you have trusted me to give you a story that doesn’t require you to fill in the blanks. My thought is that you want to spend time enjoying the tale and then, if you like, deconstructing the story. I am okay with “that came out of nowhere” as long as it is not “where did that come from”. The two generally result in opposite opinions of how good a book is.
So, I’ve got my writing equivalent of gorilla glue and duct tape and maybe a little spackle. After this rewrite, it’s just a final layer of paint or a little polish and you should have a tasty tale to read. I don’t want you thinking about the writing, I want you to be thinking about the story. If I do my part right and make sure everything is airtight, all you have to do is find a comfortable reading posture and good lighting. That all seems perfectly logical to me.