In today’s episode, Rekka poses the question of how many drafts a story requires to reach completion, knowing full well this could result in a very short episode.
- Brian’s answer: Three.
- Rekka’s answer: As many as it takes.
- Both of them are applying a full process to the story, but how many steps go into each pass make the difference.
- We’ve talked about pre-work before. Brian makes his first draft his pre-work. Rekka makes an outline her pre-work.
- The point is, there are certain phases the story goes through, and how you work determines the number of times you revise a draft.
- You figure out the story: via outline or via exploratory drafting
- You get to a point where the pieces are laid out and you can take an objective look at them
- Figure out what works, structurally, figure out what needs touching up
- Get some outside opinions, preferably from professionals (sorry, mom)
- Map out arcs (plot, characters) and see where they can be massaged to increase effect
- Make passes for structure
- Make passes for pacing
- Make passes for QC/details/continuity
- Make passes for foreshadowing
- Make passes for word flow (by now you want to read it out loud if you haven’t already)
- Make passes for grammar and spelling (here there be homophones)
- Now if at this point you’ve had no other readers, you could be entering another round of the above (depending on responses)
- Stop when the effort you are putting into the process stops resulting in quantifiable improvement. At some point you have to be done and the story has to move to production or go in a trunk.
- Other episodes we reference:
How many drafts do you write before you call a story done?
Comment on the episode webpage or on the Hybrid Author Facebook group to let us know how your revision process goes!