Major Silva asks: How many drafts do you normally go through until completion?
My current editing process has evolved over more than ten years. It’s a personal thing. Everyone writes differently. Everyone edits differently.
Here’s how it goes for me:
1) After reviewing my outline I type out a rough draft. My spelling and typing are atrocious.
2) I used to spend two or three revision cycles making my rough draft legible. Recently I’ve started using speech-to-text software and reading back what I have written. This saves me a huge amount of time (and probably carpal tunnel syndrome, too!).
3) I read through and polish this draft once or twice.
4) I then print it all out and read the hard copy. It has a different feel than reading on a computer screen so it’s fresh in my mind. Much of my larger scale editing gets done here.
5) I input these changes and reprint the file in a different, more final looking format. This gives me another fresh read which I edit.
6) Ideally I let this sit for a few weeks while I work on the next chapter–after which it gets another edit.
7) Then it’s ready for my readers who give me their opinions, which I incorporate as I see fit.
8) Finally, I reread the entire novel and make sure everything fits the continuity and has the right pacing.
9) I send it off to the publisher’s editor who gives me their notes, which I also (usually) incorporate.
10) After that, I get a version from the publisher’s copyeditor, and I incorporate or reject their notes.
11) At long last, I am sent proof pages which are in their final book-ready-to-be-printed format. One more pass on this.
So that’s about seven serious drafts and about five lesser revision cycles.
This is just a general guideline. It’s dependant on many things like what my deadline is. When I wrote A Game of Universe (one of my earlier novels), that was a big stretch for me and I learned a lot while writing it. I probably did twenty or more drafts on that one!Share on Facebook