Welcome to the third installment of our Editing 101 series! Today we’ll be focusing on drafting. The word may sound pretty dreadful, but in fact, drafting can be a very creative and inventive part of the writing process. Once you’ve written your first draft (you’re supposed to be squeamish when you look back on it years and years later), you can move onto the second draft. And then a third. And then a fourth. Heck, there might be a thirteenth draft–but for all the reader knows, you wrote these glorious words without a hiccup, and your writing looks like *the best thing ever.*
The thing is, the final draft of a book you’re holding in your hands is nothing–I mean nothing–like the first draft the author wrote. The author might just crack open their novel one day, look at chapter fifteen, and think: “Ha! I remember when this was called [Insert Chapter Name Here]” or “Wait, did I seriously delete that whole part when she [Insert Action Here]?” (We speak from experience. THE GEMSTONE had a dreadful chapter fifteen in the first draft, and looking back, we’re glad that’s not in the final version.)
The point is, drafting is a hugely important part of the editing process. No, it’s not like line editing or copy editing, or anything “small scale.” In fact, to a degree, it’s not even necessarily EDITING. It’s more pre-editing–you might be completely re-writing your entire novel! No one needs to know the first draft had Unimportant Plot Line X and Why the Heck Does This Character Exist Y. They. Don’t. Exist. In. The. Final. Draft.
Which is why drafting is so important. Rewriting bits of your novel is essential. Your writing will only strengthen over time, so there’s bound to be rewrites, and soon you’ll have a shiny Draft 2. You might think, “This is THE ONE. THE draft that will land me an agent and a six-figure book deal!”
Chances are, that’s not true. Draft 2 is probably no better than Draft 1. I’d say, we usually go through *at least* three drafts of a novel before we’re happy with it. And that’s before sending out chapters to fellow writers/beta readers. Getting feedback on your work is CRITICAL. After you do, you might just re-draft your novel again!
Just remember, drafting is essential. Drafting will help you pick out what plot points are usable, which characters to keep, and, perhaps, whether or not you need to change the entire genre of your manuscript (we needed to!).
We hope you found this post enlightening! If you’re in the middle of drafting one of your novels, or you think you’ll be drafting sometime soon, leave a comment below!
Until next time,