Friday, November 25, 2011
How many Drafts should a Manuscript Undergo?
“Ideally, a manuscript should undergo just 3 drafts,” she said. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at that, because the manuscript I am subbing has definitely undergone more than 3 drafts. I may not remember the actual draft count, but I had revised the book like hell.
I don’t think there is a standard draft procedure or a norm where books are concerned. All I am aware is that the first draft is no where ready to be published, its not even ready to be shown even to the family members whose critiquing abilities don’t match other writers. The first draft is often a literary mess, a jumble of words that make sense only to the writer. It’s just a clutch of scenes, sometimes the scenes are not even linked. It’s as we move on to the next few drafts that the manuscript gets a semblance of a story; that there is a cause and effect sequence to it.
It’s different for every writer. 3 drafts may be too less for some writers, while it may be too much for few lucky ones. My first drafts are sometimes too lengthy and sometimes too sketchy. There is never a balance. I add the finer details slowly. The first draft is just the basic scene.
Do you think there is a set rule for drafts? How many drafts of a manuscript is normal? How many drafts do you all make of your manuscripts? When do you feel its time to send it to Crit Partners or Beta Readers?