I’m taking you behind the scenes with this post! Today I’m talking about drafting a manuscript and all the levels of drafting, re-drafting, and editing that comes with it.
You likely know this already, but the first draft of a manuscript that an author writes is never the exact same as the final product that gets published. In fact, of the two manuscripts I have on the go right now, one of them has six drafts! Why? I’ll tell you…
The one that starts it all. The brand new project. So much room for potential. Space for ideas and inspiration to grow.
And also so, so, so, so, so terrible.
The first draft can have some really great parts to it, but in my experience, as a complete work it’s generally not that great.
It’s more about getting a relatively cohesive idea onto the page than it is about writing a masterpiece. Don’t get me wrong, I’m trying to write some gold nuggets into this patch of dirt that is the first draft, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that it just won’t match the initial visions I had for it in my head.
After letting this original draft sit for a few months, I finally re-acquainted myself with the story and went about filling in holes, adding better descriptions, moving stuff around. You know, turning the disaster that is a first draft into something less disastrous.
These were all in response to beta readers and a manuscript program I paid for. Some changes were more significant than others, but it resulted in draft 5, which I deemed good enough to finally send to agents!
Here we are at draft 6. Why is there another draft? Five already felt a little bit like overkill, didn’t it? What else could there possibly be to change?
As the above posts outline, there’s a process to getting the work right, and there’s this thing with writers never really being finished with their work.
However, I think this sixth draft will actually result in a better book, but who knows, maybe I’ll continue to draft seven or eight?
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Why are there six drafts of my manuscript? Because the story has been growing, starting as a fetus in my head, emerging as an infant with its first draft, growing through childhood and the adolescent years with subsequent drafts. Hopefully draft 6 will be adulthood.
The thing about adults, we tend to do a little bit of growing, too. So maybe it’s true that I’ll never be finished with this manuscript… But maybe I can morph it into something mature, mostly confident in itself, and pretty much whole.
Thanks for reading!
Enjoy the journey,