Sunday, June 27, 2010

How Many Drafts/Edits Does It Take?

Do you ever wonder how many drafts the average author writes? How many edits it takes before a manuscript is ready for submission/publication? Is there a normal? Or does it vary by book? If you're a writer, I invite you to post your average here, your best, or your most frustrating time with a manuscript. To get things going I'll fess up to how many it took for my paranormal.

Note: I can't express how grateful I am to my editor, Eilidh MacKenzie, who is insightfulness personified.

Drafts before submission: 3

Including a somewhat horrifying major revision, doubling the manuscript's size (what made me think I was done at that first draft?).

Edit passes upon acceptance: 4

One mediumish set of revisions, one minor, two fine tunings during the galley stage.

So how about you? Are you good with the first draft, or do you find yourself wanting to make changes even as the book is going to publication?


  1. Revisions. As many as needed?! :-)

    However, your list is in line with what I generally do. However, so far, I've never had to do a complete overhaul on a rough draft, just fine tuning and adding in or moving scenes around.

    Mary Jo Scheibl
    Writing Romantic Suspense as Casey Clifford
    HOLT Medallion Winner Best First Book for Black Ribbon Affair
    Write Touch Readers' Award for Best Romantic Suspense

  2. Great post. And I agree with Mary Jo. Getting OUT OF THE DARKNESS published took nearly 5 years. I went through 2 revisions with a NY publisher and was so close after just 3 revisions on my own. So, that made 5 revisions. Then the editor who loved my story moved to another line. And the next editor wanted different revisions. I wrote them. And...she said she just didn't love the story as much as the previous editor and wished me luck elsewhere. Amy Corwin suggested I submit to The Wild Rose Press. I did. But first...I revised again! And then there were at least 2 more revisions with my wonderful TWRP editor, Lil. (Thanks Lil! YOu're the best!)
    But my book is so much better than it would have been without all those revisions. So, how can I complain?

  3. Lilly, I'm with you. I can't tell you how glad I am to have had someone who suggested just the right revisions to make. The process went smoothly, and I felt more and more confident in the story as I saw it come together even better than I expected.

  4. Most definitely. I revisit my books from time to time and think "I should have done this . . .or said this."

  5. Ten drafts, at least.

  6. I just proofed galleys for "Beyond a Highland Whisper" and my fingers STILL itched to revise just one last time. I think I'd tweak until I could tweak no more. Thank heavens for the wisdom of editors!!! Great post and best wishes on your upcoming release. It sounds wonderful.

  7. Thank you, Maeve! I hope you have a fabulous release day as well with "Beyond a Highland Whisper."


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