Thursday, February 10, 2011

How do you handle your drafts?

Wow, look at us go! Did you have any idea that this Crusade would have such an impact? Well, some of you did this last year, so I'd imagine that you did, but I'm surprised. I've got 11 new followers in half a week, and I've found some great Blogs.

So, since there are so many writers here, I've got a revision question. Here's how I understand the process:
First Draft: Get it all out there, considering only the main points. “Letting the children out to play.”
Then you shelf it for a while, I've heard two weeks to six months.
Second Draft: Plot considerations. Making all of the Plot Arcs and Character Arcs make sense and co-ordinate. “Sending the kids to school.”
Third Draft: making the writing good. “If you meet an adjective on the side of the road, kill him.” Trading good word choices for perfect ones, etc.

After that, it's time to take it to critique groups and Beta Readers, and eventually, agents.

That's how I've come to understand it from the hints and partial revelations from more successful authors who Blog. How do you understand the process?


  1. I usually don't shelf mine for too long, because by the time I reach the end, I've pretty much forgotten what I wrote in the beginning. (I don't type fast.) And I probably go through dozens of drafts before my test readers get a hold of it.

  2. I'd take a similar approach to Alex - several drafts before anyone would be able to see it. I'd be a fan shelving the first draft for a good few months so I'd see it with fresh eyes on revison.

  3. I'm bad about going through my drafts and editing them. I've got this loyalty thing and treat my first drafts like my friends. I really do need to be tougher on them.

    Tossing It Out

  4. That is the basic gist of how I do it... write fast, set aside (ideally AT LEAST a month, 2-3 is better) [note, at this point I am not capable of not fixing typos and such, but THEN I set it aside]

    Then I read it with a notebook: I write a sentence for each section and make notes of the big things I want to change. Then on that list of sections, I note WHERE all those changes will impact (because a good change has a trickle effect). Then, using that section list, I go through the manuscript adding those bigger things.

    Then I go right to the language, cleaning smoothing and send to readers.

    What Isn't apparent, is that after you get feedback, you'll probably need to do step 2 and 3 AGAIN. I am currently on step 2, but for the 3rd time. (I've had 2 rounds with readers)

    And I swear to you--every round really does get better.

  5. I think a few rounds with critique partners or group is better than just one before sending it off to an agent. But otherwise I agree with most of your idea of how its done.

  6. I think you've got the process down... that pretty much describes my process too, though I also wanted to mention setting development and character development is also what I consider in the 2nd part of the revision. You mentioned characer arc (that's the main character) but it's so important to develop all your secondary characters and all your settings too. Just my two cents worth!

    Visiting you from Rachael Harrie's Crusader post. I think it is a great way to build a network!

  7. Hi Fellow Crusader!
    Lately I try to tackle multiple things in my first draft--the character arcs, storyline, and the fine writing. I'm trying to make my subsequent drafts less work heavy.
    Nice to meet you!

  8. Hello fellow crusader. Nice to meet you!

    I'm not so organised with my edits, but I probably should be. My first edit tends to be a read-through with redlines for the obvious stuff that hits me. I repeat that several times, as it seems I miss quite a lot first time round.

    I really try to take care of plot arcs and character arcs in the outline stage, so I tend to hope there's not too much to address there in the editing. Having said that, it never goes unscathed.

    I'm looking forward to getting to know you during the crusade.

  9. I don't usually throw everything in on the first draft and I don't kill absolutely every adjective, but one thing I do do is go through multiple reads and re-writes. I can never seem to get it in one.

  10. Hi,
    I found your blog from Rach Writes Crusade. It's been amazing to see how many of us writers are out there.

    I saw that you like Star Wars. I was a HUGE fan when I was younger. (Still am a huge fan, actually).

    Anyhow, thought I'd stop by and say hello. My blog is

  11. Yeah - sounds like you got the jest of it...

    Just wanted to stop by and drop a note to a fellow crusader!

  12. I tend to revise as I write - I call it smoothing out the wrinkles. By the time it's complete and headed to my editor, I've read every scene about a hundred times.

  13. I tend to go back fairly quickly, usually because I've already got things that I know need to be fixed. In fact, when I shelve it too long, I have a hard time getting back into it.
    Hi from a fellow crusader! :)

  14. I shelf mine for a month, at least. The first two stages are basically what I plan to do in the future, but for the third I'm using Rach's approach: dividing the manuscript into parts. That makes it so less daunting. So, the first act - polish and make it perfect (language, arch and everything), etc.

  15. I had no idea that's how most people do it. I sort of just write till I can't anymore and take a break to draw the characters. So I know what they look like. Then when my writing muse comes back from the bar (or wherever it is she goes) I start writing again.

    Lol fellow Crusader here! I learned something already!!