How Many Drafts?

Following up from the last blog you many wonder about when I edit and how many drafts I do. It’s roughly included in my plan as far as a timeframe but sometimes drafting takes longer. Some writers like to write the whole manuscript but I edit each chapter as I go, usually as I’m typing from my long hand onto the computer. I usually research first but I may have to also check facts as I go. I keep research notes filed so this part of the editing process is easier. Each of my characters has a file.

I recommend that as well as using a spell checker also check grammar and wording. Don’t use bare for bear etc. A spell checker will not correct these wrong words. You must line edit to find them.

I find putting the chapter away for a day and coming back to it for a read through is best. Some writers put their whole manuscript away for months even years before doing a final read through.

I often read my chapters out loud. If I falter with the flow as I’m reading I know I need to change something.

So how many drafts do I do? As many as I need to polish the manuscript so it is worthy of showing to a publisher. This is usually six or more.

Some writers say their words just flow and their first draft is perfect. Bull! (Okay maybe there are 1 or 2 geniuses in a million out there). I work for a publisher and believe me if anyone sent their first draft in it would not be accepted by our submissions department. Editors can only do so much. They cannot fix bad writing. Polish your work.


About bookszeus

I am the marketing Publicist for Zeus Publications. I am a novel, short story and article writer as well as wife, mother and friend. I have
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2 Responses to How Many Drafts?

  1. Jeff Pages says:

    I have a blind friend for whom I record my work as it progresses, and find just the process of reading it out loud and listening back to it helps a lot in finding mistakes, bad phrasing and just for getting an arms-length feel for the pacing of the narrative.

    Also every couple of months I print out what I’ve written to date and read it on the train going to work. I find that helps a lot in maintaining coherency and finding bloopers – I’m sure on occasions my fellow passengers have wondered why I’ve suddenly burst out laughing.


    • bookszeus says:

      Yes, Jeff, reading out loud definitely helps the editing process. Also I find that printing out a hard copy and reading from that rather than the computer screen does see me picking up more errors. I then go back to the computer with my red-pen marked hard copy and revise once again. Good luck with more barefoot stories.

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