The question of drafts.

The question often seems to come up with writers about the number of different drafts of a piece they go through before reaching the final product.

The answer can vary greatly, depending on the writer. Anne McCaffrey once said she only wrote the one draft. First draft was the final one! Brian Keene has recently described his process as writing the first draft, then off to his pre-reader, then he works on the corrections suggested by the pre-reader and it’s done. I have heard of other writers (although no names come to mind at the moment) who claim to do ten or more drafts before they’re happy.

The danger is that, if you keep going back to a story, you will always find something to change! It can be never-ending. Knowing when to stop is part of the learning process I think. And it’s not an easy skill to master.

Over the last year, when I’ve been writing (if not publishing) more, I think I have finally found the method that works best for me. If anyone’s interested, here it is.

  1. Write the story
  2. Go back through it on screen, making corrections and rewriting where necessary
  3. Print it out. Go through hardcopy, somehow finding things to correct and change that I missed on the computer screen!
  4. Enter hardcopy changes onto computer version, usually making more, hopefully minor, corrections as I go.

I consider that to be four drafts (or possibly three depending on how you view step 4 above). I used to do more, or sometimes less… it wasn’t very structured. But I find these four steps are working for me. Obviously they’re flexible, but as a basis they’re helping me do more writing and to finish more pieces. I just hope I can turn that into more publishing credits in 2015.

And finally, speaking of publishing credits, don’t forget my new horror novel, The Village Witch, is scheduled for publication by Omnium Gatherum in February 2015. I think it’s the best thing I’ve done, but you, the readers, will be the final judges on that.

Happy New Year (a bit late I know, but what the hell). Hope 2015 is a good one for you 🙂

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