How many drafts does it take to get out of the edit toward a published book? Book One is still in the edit, and here’s why; it’s only on its’ third draft.
The previous post on editing barely scratched the surface of the editing process. There are different types of editing and multiple drafts of the work can be produced from each draft.
So how many drafts do I have to go through? I don’t know. Yet
Louise Harnby outlines the different types of novel editing we all have to go through. Sometimes more than once.
Where we’re at
Draft 1: Complete draft, beginning to end. After a Developmental Edit, did the book work? No. This is where the change of Point of View Character occurred.
Draft 2: After changing PoV character, the book required an extensive re-write in order to make sense.
Draft 3: Another Developmental Edit, or ‘Story edit‘ (as the folks at Fictionary call it).
Here we’re checking for:
- Character names, appearances, and goals
- Point of view
- Story arc
- Plot holes (including scenes with no purpose)
- Flow from scene to scene
- Absence of tension or conflict
- Empty stage syndrome
- Confusing timelines or missing objects
This is the draft completed today. And it contains a lot of edit marks where description and interior dialogue needs fixing.
So what’s next?
Draft 4: Scene analysis and scene edit. This is my monster spreadsheet cross-checking scene-by-scene, which will generate a whole stack of edits. Drafts 3 and 4 might iterate around 3.1, 4.1 and maybe more. If we can get out of structural, plot and character issues, we can move on.
Draft 5: Copy edit. Focus on the mechanics like spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Draft 6: Line edit. A more in-depth version of copy editing, one that focuses on style as well.
Draft 7: Proofread. Weed out the typos.
Not saying a lot about these because, frankly, there’s a way to go and you only want to do each of them once. Wants and needs may be wholly separate things, however.
2 thoughts on “How Many Drafts?”
17 drafts and still going. How do you know when to stop?
You get trusted beta readers to tell you when its finished. Or, in my world, make a call; when is ‘just good enough’ just good enough to move on?