Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stripping - no, not that kind

Ay yi yi. I have reached a point where I'm totally confused by own manuscript! There are so many alterations and notes, and it's been so long since I was last at this point, I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking.

So what am I going to do?

I call it "stripping the manuscript." I'm going to take out anything that was to be moved or deleted from the first draft to complete the second draft, then I'm going to print it and start reading from the beginning. Hopefully when I reach this point again, I'll beore aware of what's missing and when things should happen, and then I can go back and add it. This means I'm looking at at least four drafts now - the first, the second "stripped" draft, the third where I put in what's missing and the final fourth.

This doesn't mean there won't be a fifth or even sixth draft. It just means there will be four for sure.

But this is the best way I can think of to figure out just what the heck is supposed to happen and when in the last third of the book.


Kimber Chin said...

Have you seen the number of drafts needed decrease?

(Just wondering if I'll eventually only need 10 drafts instead of 12 - that would be SUCH a time saver)

Kaye Manro said...

I'm so glad you talk about multiple drafts on your blog, Margaret. And the continuing cut paste. I've seen new writers today who think they can write and maybe go over their story once, do a grammar check and sent it off.

I don't believe it can even be a story without a lot of work, so maybe those other newbies will get a clue by reading about a seasoned author's process on your blog.

Margaret Moore said...

I've had the fewest number of drafts (three) when the heroes were particularly vivid in my head. Then the books seem to fall trippingly off the fingers. Otherwise, it varies. But never fewer than three. And even then, some scenes always need more work than others, the first in particular.

Some authors don't have to revise as much, but they do more thinking/planning before they actually start the book, or spend a lot more time/page in the first draft. Me, I have not the patience for that, so I accept that I'll have to do more revising.

But those who think they can just toss any ol' thing on the page and call it a day? Well, I imagine they find out pretty quick it probably won't sell. Note the probably, though, because one other thing I've learned in this business is never say never. There are always exceptions.

Amy Ruttan said...

I go through several, when I'm writing by the seat of my pants.

My series, well I planned those suckers out and acted all plotter, but I highlighted all my repeats and inserted comments to look over again. Plus they're not as "long" as my other ones. Only about 50k.

But I don't send out first drafts *shudder*

Leah Braemel said...

Oh, Margaret, God Bless You!

I'm on my fourth draft - the third was the strip it down one. I thought I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel but then realized it'll take at least another two drafts to get the layers in that I want.

Been sitting feeling sorry for myself today. So nice to know I'm normal.

Kimber Chin said...


Hhhmmm... I'm thinking y'all are talking about drafts before submitting ('cause the editor will push another draft and the line edits will push one more).

Even with that, I see that I have more drafts than average.

Once I feel more comfortable with writing a solid story, I'm going to work on how to decrease the number of drafts. I think that would be a big time saver.

This post rocks!