Wednesday, February 6, 2013

ISWG - How Many Drafts Does It Take?




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How Many Drafts Does It Take?

I always say I am more of a "re-writer" than a "writer." I really love re-writing and editing. There's something about digging into my writing that makes me crazy happy. I love slinging scenes around, reconstructing sentences, trashing entire chapters, killing characters, resurrecting them, etc. I would say that my first drafts are just getting ideas on paper. All the good stuff happens in the re-write stages for me.

Because of this, I tend to have a very large number of drafts. I hear of writers having only 1 or 2 drafts and I can barely wrap my head around it. I estimating I'll log at least 10 full drafts of my current WIP. All of my previous books have had even more than that. (The numbers are ridiculously high, so I won't list them.)

I'm wondering about other writers. How many drafts do you average in the writing process? Do you lean toward being a "writer" or a re-writer"?

13 comments:

  1. I cannot describe how much I truly loathe rewriting. I would rather start a new story and write 100,000 more words than go back and rehash the stuff I've already written. That being said, I really do see the merit in rewrites so I guess I better just make my peace with it!

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  2. I'm not sure I can share your enthusiam in the matter, but it definitely takes that many. I NEVER think a draft is ready until the draft number is in the low teens. 12, 13... something like that seems to be on most drafts I feel are ready. What that MEANS though, is actually probably 3 BIG rounds, and then a couple feedback rounds, as my first two rounds of revisions each get 3 drafts: orient and tweak, make major changes, polish

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  3. I'm the opposite -- I really don't like revising. It's like doing dirty dishes. I know something sparkly and pretty is under all that gunk, but I'd really rather not touch it! I have to push myself hard to do the rewrites. I shoot for three or four MAJOR (like complete) rewrites, and do several smaller tweaks based on feedback from CPs and betas.

    I'm a new follower via GFC. My blog is nickieanderson.blogspot.com Nice to meet you!

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  4. I'm insane. I write a rough outline and then a ROUGH draft, more of an extended outline. Then a second draft to up emotion and fix dialogue. Then a third draft to work on narrative. Last a fourth draft to make sure I didn't miss any opportunities in my story. Then I have to repeat two, three, and four in one pass. Then I go through editing. Lastly, my story goes through two proofreaders. :)

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  5. Hmm, I think my more recent writing has gone through three to four drafts or so. There is the first draft and I do some minor editing on it as I go. Then, the CPs get it. I'll then take their comments and incorporate them. Then, I'll do one more edit and a proofread. I tend to write fairly cleanly, so it's often more about clarifying things, adding details, etc. Of course, some of my earlier works have had more drafts.

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  6. I'm more of a lover-of-drafting than rewriting. Also, I tend to shy from the larger wips of mine. Now, my picture books, oh man, twenty, thirty + drafts. My goal with those are to cut, chop, and delete until every single word counts.

    In answer to your question, how many drafts does it take? I guess as many as the wip needs to make it sing. :))

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  7. Oh, my. I'm definitely a re-writer to the end. My last WIP went through a good five revisions after the first draft!

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  8. I love re-writing too, especially when I come upon a passage I really like in the current draft! I guess I go through 3 or 4 drafts, not sure. I do know that every time I think I'm finished I end up doing more revising!

    Nice to meet you through the IWSG! :)

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  9. I agree with you completely, Camille. As Hemingway said, writing is rewriting.

    For me, the first draft is raw clay. The story is buried in there somewhere but will only emerge through editing. I wrote at least two dozen drafts of my last manuscript, but that's because I rewrote it in toto from three different POVs (first, third, and mixed) and polished each version. I will never do that again.

    Six to ten drafts is my norm. Tripple that for short stories.

    ~VR Barkowski

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  10. Since I've only written one story which was a school assignment, I don't think I'm qualified to answer this question. lol. I guess it's the old saying, 'different strokes for different folks.' I'm sure there are a lot of authors who are never fully satisfied with their work. Sorry I couldn't be of much help of the topic :)

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  11. I have to agree with Lan. I hate re-writing! I'd rather write a million first drafts then rewrite.

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  12. I'm not really a writer. Well, I am~ but it's a long story. I like to write but I feel I 'lost my touch' once I became an adult and stopped for other things, but sometimes I HAVE to write. But unfortunately nothing has gotten past the first draft. I would think I would say the first draft would be easiest, but since I haven't done a second I'm not sure. After reading your answer maybe I WOULD be better with the next however many drafts as I slowly perfect it and see it come together so much more smoothly. Once my 3 year old is in school maybe I'll have more time to write again.

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  13. Haha, I'm one of those "1 or 2 draft" writers! Ok, maybe 3 ;-) But that's why I take so long to write a first draft, because I edit and change as I go along, and I can't move on from a sentence until it sounds good! Ugh! Annoying, but it means my first drafts are pretty polished. At the end of the day, my one draft probably takes a similar amount of time to your ten so we wind up at the same place :-)

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