There is no hard and fast rule on how many drafts you should write for a novel and every writer has a process that works for them. Write a killer first draft and the rest will flow naturally. Some swear by three drafts; others proclaim 10 to be the magic number. But the truth is, there is no ‘magic number’. Once you get going and create your own process, you will have a better understanding of how many drafts you need to write.
Know that not all drafts take the same amount of time and there will always be minor revisions along the way.
Major revisions can take longer, possibly up to 6 months. On the other hand, a complete rewrite could take up to 12 months. I have many stories on my desk (computer) that I have been working on for years – many years. Every now and then I revisit them, add a few things, tighten up the wording. Writing is not a race to the finish – polish your prose – be a wordsmith.
Consider this 6 step process:
- INITIAL WRITING: Reading, note taking, conceptualizing your story, understanding, problem solving, planning and outlining.
- FIRST DRAFT: Write a killer first draft and you will have a great start on a beginning, a middle and some of the end, and know what is missing. The characters are starting to take on a life of their own; the plot is transforming.
- ROUGH DRAFT: A rough draft contains all the plots and sub plots. All the sections are there but not necessarily in the right order; spelling, grammar and style issues are still present,
- CLEAN DRAFT: You are pretty much at the word count, errors corrected, the whole draft is tidied up, structure is logical.
- GOOD DRAFT: The draft is now tight. Extraneous matter has been cut, phrasing is effective, the words are good – powerful.
- FINAL DRAFT: Let it rest and revisit it after you have had time to ponder your plots and sub plots. Then do further tightening, rephrasing, clarifying, formatting, error checking etc.
This is just a guide. There is no hard and fast rule on how many drafts you should write for a novel and every writer has a process that works for them. Write that killer first draft and you will be well on your way.
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“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish.”