Draft #3 of The Grove is finished, but all that means is it is ready to be sent to my first reader. This first reader is NOT my publisher. She is a friend of mine who loves fantasy–especially urban fantasy–which is why she is the one who gets to read it. She also has a good sense of humor about reading books before they go on to the next draft and then off to publisher.
When is it coming out? I have no idea. While everyone tells you to get your book out yesterday, if I try to write rushed I write a bunch of crap. Besides even if my first reader LOVES it, I still have to sell it.
Other Systems took seven drafts before it was sold.
I tried to do less with The Light Side of the Moon, but then it went through a full rewrite. It was accepted for publication, then during editing I was told to change some more things. If I add those in, I did about seven drafts.
This is how I create a novel:
Step 1: My outline.
Now this is a loose story written in a fews day with major scenes and plot points.
Step 2: My first draft which is very rough and fast. I do about a chapter or couple scenes a day. I don’t worry about grammar. I sometimes don’t even add description or do research. There was actually a tag that said: LOOK UP HOW WICCANS CAST A CIRCLE. Another said, DESCRIBE THE SOUND OF THE SEA
Draft Two is when I do research and add it into the manuscript. Dialogue becomes crisper. If the characters want to not cooperate with the plot this is where they will change things.
Draft Three is where I make sure the character’s motivation feels real. I also look for TELLING spots such as:Oliver visibly relaxed and change it to something like: Oliver flopped onto his velvet couch and unbottoned his fly, allowing his soft belly to fall over his waistband. (No this is not a real line in the book, but I think its funny.)
The final part of Draft Three is a self copy-edit so the reader isn’t disgusted and confused by mistakes. Now I can give it to a first reader and get some feedback.
Draft Four is where I add the feedback and change the story as needed.
Draft Five is a heavy self copy-edit. This is also where I am going to start sending it out. If I happen to get any more feedback I use it to make the manuscript even better.
And on it goes.
So that’s my process, how many drafts do you go through?