How Many Drafts does it Take?
I’m working on the 3rd draft of my latest project. I still don’t have a good title for it, right now I’m calling it Wolf Book 3. As I was sifting through reader feedback, I wondered how many drafts it normally takes for me to get that completed feeling.
I looked back at the last couple of novel projects to see how many drafts I wrote and the magic number is 5. Here’s the breakdown:
Draft 1 — This is the true first draft, where I write it and let it sit for a bit. I typically like to wait at least a month before draft 2.
Draft 2 — Here is the first rewrite. In the past my 1st drafts were pretty bare bones, and I would add quite a bit of detail in the 2nd draft, but lately I’ve had to cut stuff out instead. After this draft, I send the manuscript out for reader comments and/or to a critique group.
Draft 3 — This is the draft where I incorporate feedback that I receive from readers/critiquers. I typically make changes based upon the feedback but don’t dive into a total rewrite.
Draft 4 — After I let the reader feedback percolate a bit, I come back and do my final re-write. This is where I print it out, read it aloud, and re-write until I can’t anymore. After this draft it goes to the editor.
Draft 5 — I make changes based upon editor’s comments and do a final proofread.
We all know that there is no correct way to do this stuff, but this is the way that seems to work for me. How about you?