Never mind that I’m 65% through editing and still don’t know if the novel is any good: do I have a professional working draft?
A working draft comes at the end of one or more rounds of internal edits; no copy editing, line editing or proof reading. We’re still in the early stages. In short, does the manuscript work?
Developmental Editor Anne Hawley at Pages and Platforms has six key criteria. Lifted from Anne’s Story path crime-story structure slides, her notion of the Professional Working Draft :
- has a protagonist pursuing a singular desire
- …which establishes clear stakes
- …and causes them to undergo a change as they pursue it
- has a story premise that’s reflected in every scene
- is driving toward the emotion your audience expects to feel
- has the specific characters and moments the audience for your Story Type expects.