Any published authors out there? I’d be interested to know how many passes you typically go through to get a book from first draft to final, and over what time frame.
Hopefully I’ll get faster one day, but after writing eight full novels (not to mention a few false starts), I’m still finding a plethora of passes. Nine, so far, on Domino’s Game, with at least one more to go, a read through, tweak-and-edit pass that shouldn’t be as major as the previous one.
Of the nine times I’ve gone through this novel in the past year, four of them have been fairly major, especially the very FIRST one! I’d like to streamline the process, but so far, this is the pattern I’m mired in.
How many times do YOU go through a novel, including major and minor passes?
Holly may not appreciate the cavalier way I relate this comment, but there are 25 lessons in her How To Revise Your Novel Course, which is geared to teach her One-Pass Revision Technique. I’m not saying there are 25 passes through the novel, but it’s pretty close to that. She’s good enough to get those 25 steps into a One-Pass process, but I’m sure it took her several novels to get to that point. Mind you, that’s pure speculation on my part. She, of course, would have a more accurate view.
Of course, remember, everyone’s different, too, so don’t let others’ seemingly smoother paths get you down. I think this is the part of the process that separates the women and men from the dabblers, so hang in there.
I guess I do sound whiny! Mostly I’m coming to understand my process better, but trying to cut a step or two.
Vivian Arend says
Honey, every book is different. I’ve had one that I finished the first draft, did a run through to fix grammar disasters, and it was done. Contrast that with the one that took 3 major rewrites ie. whole chapters lost and gained…
On average though? I would say with my current style of writing I do 4 steps.
First draft- ie get the thing done. If I handed it to you at this point you’d go ACK! I could have missing sentences, gaps in continuity–because I tend to speed write my first drafts ( 5K/day until I’m done.)
Second draft I go and clean it up and make it readable. The fun thing? Since I let version one be whatever it is, I learn all sorts of things as the story continues. That lets me use the second draft to add all the little teasers and character building things that are needed. Plot/character only focus still.
Then I give it to my readers for comments.
Third draft I address the comments/concerns they raise (ie- “hero is making me crazy in scene four…”) Again, all plot and character stuff.
Fourth and final draft I do a run through and fix all the grammar, word repeats, overused phrases–this is the nitpicky step but is fun because as I go through and remove/strength word choices, i tic off my common oops one at a time and they are DONE.
That’s my routine. 😉
And each step, other than the first draft writing, takes as long as it needs to.
That sounds reasonable. Maybe I’ll get there yet.