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Drafts--First, Second, Third...Manuscript?

I would like to hear some insights from other authors on this forum about how many drafts they write before reaching a final manuscript. Recently, I read Stephen King's On Writing for some insight on writing in general and found it to be one of the most engaging books I've yet read. It was very compelling and entertaining and I finished it in two sittings.

However, as far as information on this topic, he seems to be from the old school, that is, having been originally limited to typewriters as the only means of composition. Thus, he says he still composes a first draft in a more or less linear fashion until it's done, then lets it sit for a while and comes back later to edit it into a second draft, which is then given 'polish' until it becomes a manuscript.

With the modern advantage of using a computer, I find this approach rather alien. Since I'm constantly editing my work--from correcting typos to recomposing whole sentences or adding new material as I write a given chapter--the first and second drafts tend to blur together into what I jokingly refer to as "a draft and a half."

Some of this occurs naturally because I'm inexperienced and I make mistakes, but on the other hand, I feel that something has been lost in the transition to computers. The fact is that a typewriter forced authors to compose mainly in their heads (or with handwriting) so that the typing process would be as precise as possible when the first draft was committed to paper. This is of course allowing for a tremendous amount of variation in writer techniques and tools.

How do the other authors on this forum approach the various drafts that eventually result in a final manuscript? Is the very concept of a 'draft' now outdated? Are we in a constant state of revision all the way through to a final manuscript?

Michael

Comments

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited September 11
    The problem with books like King’s is that there are no hard and fast rules for writing. They are more in the way of what the pirate might call “guidelines.” You do what is most comfortable for yourself. It’s the final result that counts, not necessarily how you got there.

    For myself, I try to get the entire book down in more or less one pass (though this may take days or weeks) without much stopping to fiddle with things. Then I start from the beginning, working through the book, making refinements and changes. I do this as many times as I need to, with the MS becoming—hopefully—better with each pass. In this way, I am always working on the book in its entirety, which helps me maintain a continuity and keeps me from over-focusing on one part to the exclusion of another.

    I don’t think that the concept of draft MSS is remotely outdated and is entirely independent of the means by which you write, whether it be in longhand on paper or on a computer.

    By the way, I do not consider my final version to be a “final manuscript” but rather a final draft. The texts of my books are not “final” in the sense I think you mean until they have run the gauntlet of an editor and copy editor and is ready for press.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I would like to hear some insights from other authors on this forum about how many drafts they write before reaching a final manuscript.

    You may have noticed that I am a very literal person (apart from when I am writing fiction perhaps!) so I would say that multiple drafts would only apply to anyone not using the godsend of a Word Processor. Using the latter there's just one 'draft.'

    Recently, I read Stephen King's On Writing for some insight on writing in general and found it to be one of the most engaging books I've yet read. It was very compelling and entertaining and I finished it in two sittings.

    Ermm, perhaps the problem with reading about how other people write, is that you end up writing like they do. The same possibly applies to How To Write Fiction guides. All that use the same one will possibly also all write the same way.

    However, as far as information on this topic, he seems to be from the old school, that is, having been originally limited to typewriters as the only means of composition. Thus, he says he still composes a first draft in a more or less linear fashion until it's done,

    What on though? But I suppose that is the Brain Storming method of writing.

    then lets it sit for a while and comes back later to edit it into a second draft, which is then given 'polish' until it becomes a manuscript.

    Giving it a rest is a good idea.

    With the modern advantage of using a computer, I find this approach rather alien.

    Not really, it's just their choice, and does King say how long it takes him to write out an entire draft without editing?

     Since I'm constantly editing my work--from correcting typos to recomposing whole sentences or adding new material as I write a given chapter--the first and second drafts tend to blur together into what I jokingly refer to as "a draft and a half."

    I use the same method. Possibly because I do not plan stories, I just know the start and the end and work towards it, often with little side stories along the way. Little adventures within a big one. I will write up to a paragraph, then adjust it. When I get to the end of a chapter, I will read that, and adjust it. When I get to the end of a story, I read it all again, and adjust it, and often many many times. At times, at random sections of stories I read back and tinker, also. Sometimes I will go back and adjust sections in order to allow something to happen later. When I read through once more and cannot make any more adjustments, then it's done. (perhaps!) Thank goodness I do not use paper!

    Some of this occurs naturally because I'm inexperienced and I make mistakes, but on the other hand, I feel that something has been lost in the transition to computers.

    No, something has been gained. Fewer trees chopped down for a start!

     The fact is that a typewriter forced authors to compose mainly in their heads (or with handwriting)

    But writers compose in their heads anyway. It's their brains that control whatever method of writing that they use. Thought to keys (or pen.) That has not changed.

     so that the typing process would be as precise as possible when the first draft was committed to paper.

    Hardly. Often even using a WP, writers can sit there for hours, even days, awaiting inspiration. But just because a person may have bits of a story already in their heads (I often do) does not mean it makes them better at typing.

     This is of course allowing for a tremendous amount of variation in writer techniques and tools.

    I have lost you there. What does?

    How do the other authors on this forum approach the various drafts that eventually result in a final manuscript?

    As above.

     Is the very concept of a 'draft' now outdated? Are we in a constant state of revision all the way through to a final manuscript?

    But the former is exactly what a draft is.

    "Drafting is the preliminary stage of a written work in which the author begins to develop a more cohesive product. A draft document is the product the writer creates in the initial stages of the writing process."

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    The problem with books like King’s is that there are no hard and fast rules for writing. They are more in the way of what the pirate might call “guidelines.” You do what is most comfortable for yourself. It’s the final result that counts, not necessarily how you got there.

    Exactly!

  • My own style runs like this: I'll have an idea. I'll write an opening. After a day or two, if the opening still seems vibrant, I'll continue writing. If it doesn't seem vibrant, but it still might be a good idea, I'll wait a few weeks and try to write a new opening for it.

    In the writing process, I often give myself a running start. Sometimes a great scene (imho) occurs to me in the shower, so I have to commit it to electrons as quickly as possible. Other times, I start a chapter or two before the current last line, and read. As I read, I start making corrections. By the time I get to the last chapter before the end, I'll be adding small snippets. When I hit the current last line, I'll have an idea of where to go next, and on a good day, words will flow like wine. On a bad day, I close the document and try again the next day.

    And so it goes...
  • I will often start with the ending. The rest of the book is written to justify it.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • It's certainly interesting to hear all your thoughts. I find my process (so far) to be almost identical to Kevin's. I know how I want it to start and how I want it to end, and I work my way through. This is not to say that I have no idea about the events in the middle but the opening and the climax are usually what form the strongest images in my mind. I see the story as an arc. One you know the beginning and end, the middle bits naturally suggest themselves.

    I am constantly revising as I write. In fact, one of the ways I get myself out of being stuck, if I ever get there, is to re-read and revise the previous chapter. What I have written so far often prompts what I write next, and sometimes I only need to get back into the 'feel' of it by re-reading the last chapter.

    One difference between my process and Kevin's is that I do spend a lot of time summarizing events as I write, which helps me fill out the story details and clarify precisely what the story is about, parring it down to its essentials. As it's science-fiction in this case, a lot of background is often necessary, including the development of alien races, planets, technologies, new terms, etc. Thus, all this goes into a massive document of background details. The document for my current book is now 28 pages and 16,000 words.

    I don't obsess over what other writers do.  However, I figure Stephen King is a pretty good person to listen to if you listen to anyone. One bit of advice I do favor from him is to finish the first draft within three months if at all possible. For me, it keeps the story fresh and maintains the enthusiasm. Also, my writing shifts over time as my frame of mind does, so it helps to keep the same tone throughout the entire book. Otherwise, I take what other writers say with a grain of salt. I have to say that I don't share his extreme aversion to adverbs! I just use them moderately.

    In On Writing, King recounts how he almost didn't finish The Stand, which many consider to be his best book. He lost the story midway, putting it aside for months, and finally resolved it by blowing up several of the main characters with a bomb. Apparently, it took him 16 months to finish the first draft, and the final book is 472,000 words or something like that. So, there are always exceptions to the author's own rules.

    —Michael
  • I start with a picture which forms in my mind
    Then I describe it in verses that rhyme.
    The story unfolds like by magic it seems
    As pictures and dialog form into scenes.

    At times just a syllable might change the story
    But when the new picture forms I do not worry
    I know where the finish is when I start out
    And write down the scenes that it needs to fill out.

    Sometimes it's done in an hour or two
    The one I'm on now is three years (still not through)
    So there are "revisions" I save ev'ry day
    Dozens 'til finished, but I think it's play!
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    It's certainly interesting to hear all your thoughts. I find my process (so far) to be almost identical to Kevin's. I know how I want it to start and how I want it to end, and I work my way through. This is not to say that I have no idea about the events in the middle but the opening and the climax are usually what form the strongest images in my mind. I see the story as an arc. One you know the beginning and end, the middle bits naturally suggest themselves.

    Well, one of my stories is a series, but it did not start off with that intention. Other events get in the way of the main goal of the story, often just as it does in real life. Part Four has just been published (Around 270 ish A5 pages each at 12 pnt Garamond. (The page count could be higher, but POD is not cheap.).) Part Five will be finished ASAP, and Part Six not long after that, I hope! (Parts 4, 5 and 6 were drafted all at once, around 900 pages (as above) Then I fully worked over Part Four and split it at a suitable place, and now I am doing the same with Part Five. What will be Part Six does not as yet have an end. Who knows, there may even be  a Part Seven!

    I am constantly revising as I write.

    Indeed, it's a fortunate person who has not need to!

     In fact, one of the ways I get myself out of being stuck, if I ever get there, is to re-read and revise the previous chapter.

    Ah yes! I find that with no forward planning I can write myself in to a corner, and have to go back, often a long way, so that the problem does not happen.

     What I have written so far often prompts what I write next, and sometimes I only need to get back into the 'feel' of it by re-reading the last chapter.

    Quite so. In fact I am sure that bits of one story can inspire a whole new story (to be put on the back burner.) T. Pratchett seemed to do that, unless he was working on many books at once, and gave hints about the next book in the last one published.

    One difference between my process and Kevin's is that I do spend a lot of time summarizing events as I write,

    I am not sure what you mean by that. Do you mean that you write down a plan for the next chapter, then fill everything in around it?

     which helps me fill out the story details and clarify precisely what the story is about, parring it down to its essentials.

    Well, I guess that's okay, if you know what will be coming in, say, 10 chapters ahead. I have no idea, really, although I usually have a very vague one. It's fiction, I make it up as I go along.

    As it's science-fiction in this case, a lot of background is often necessary,

    I make notes as I create any background, as I write.

     including the development of alien races, planets, technologies, new terms, etc. Thus, all this goes into a massive document of background details. The document for my current book is now 28 pages and 16,000 words.

    One can get bogged down with details that may not actually be important. Take an alien race. Your main character may not know the background, or care about it, and he/she not knowing may not make any difference to the story. Tech also. Many people use Smartphones, for example. Do they know how they work? Do they care? Does it matter, as long as they can use them.

    I don't obsess over what other writers do.

    Every one does what works for them. That's what matters. What works for you.

      However, I figure Stephen King is a pretty good person to listen to if you listen to anyone.

    I have not read any of his books. Not my type of thing. I am not keen on things that plays on people's fears and phobias, because I have none.  :) I did watch some adaptation of the Tower (I think it was called) though, and was not impressed. But that's never any guide to what the book is like.

     One bit of advice I do favor from him is to finish the first draft within three months if at all possible.

    Well, that's fine for someone who can no doubt work full time at it, and possibly also has a deadline to meet. Me? I can perhaps spend an hour a day writing. Slowly ...

     For me, it keeps the story fresh and maintains the enthusiasm.

    But each and every new  line will be 'fresh.' But I have to agree that reading the same thing over and over again can become very boring. (And perhaps why so many Self-Published books seem very rushed and often just a draft.)

     Also, my writing shifts over time as my frame of mind does, so it helps to keep the same tone throughout the entire book.

    The characters of my, well, characters, does not change. Perhaps I am able to slip in to a multi-personality mode? Which I hope most fiction writers are able to do.

     Otherwise, I take what other writers say with a grain of salt.

    Indeed. What works for one may not work for all.

     I have to say that I don't share his extreme aversion to adverbs! I just use them moderately.

    They can change an entire sentence. I see no problem with them.

    In On Writing, King recounts how he almost didn't finish The Stand, which many consider to be his best book. He lost the story midway, putting it aside for months, and finally resolved it by blowing up several of the main characters with a bomb. Apparently, it took him 16 months to finish the first draft,

    In the Self-Publishing world sixteen months is nothing.

     and the final book is 472,000 words or something like that.

    The paperback has 1344 pages, but costs just £7.99. Imagine the cost via POD!

     So, there are always exceptions to the author's own rules.

    Well, yes, everything depends on the situation at any given time.

  • I will often start with the ending. The rest of the book is written to justify it.
    I had an aunt who would read the first chapter, the last chapter, and then start in the middle and read towards whichever end she liked best.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I often read them via a mirror.


  • Just Kevin said:

    I have not read any of his books. Not my type of thing. I am not keen on things that plays on people's fears and phobias, because I have none.  :) I did watch some adaptation of the Tower (I think it was called) though, and was not impressed. But that's never any guide to what the book is like.

    I have only read a handful of his books myself--Salem's Lot, The Dead Zone, Firestarter, Pet Sematary, The Gunslinger, On Writing. The only one that scared me was Pet Sematary. He did a really good job of making re-animated animals frightening. But I always found it a bit odd that he is considered a horror writer. It seems to me that most of his work is either fantasy or science-fiction, albeit with horror elements, dealing with psychic powers and possessed cars and mad dogs, etc. He tried to write a straight up fantasy series with The Talisman but it alienated his fans.

    Anyway, I'm not a massive fan, but I just figure he's the picture of success so why not listen to what he has to say? He must be doing something right, and I don't think it's merely luck.

    His prose is serviceable, sturdy, solid. He writes well and keeps it simple without becoming too pedestrian. His strongest attributes are getting inside the heads of his characters and a mastery of creating indelible images with an economy of prose. I haven't read Firestarter in over 30 years, but I still remember the 'bloody comma' on the wall. The Dead Zone is probably the best of his novels that I've read.

    Well, that's fine for someone who can no doubt work full time at it, and possibly also has a deadline to meet. Me? I can perhaps spend an hour a day writing. Slowly ...


    King advises budding writers to commit to writing a minimum of 2000 words a day. He says he personally writes 3000 a day come hell or high water. Even when he was nearly killed after being hit by a speeding car in 1999, he was back to writing when he got out of the hospital. He could only sit up on his shattered pelvis for 40 minutes at a time (with pain medication) but he still wrote until he couldn't bear the agony anymore (discounting the normal amount of agony involved in writing). I have to admire that determination!

    I don't give myself a hard limit personally. I just commit to writing every day. Some days, I'll only manage 250-500 words, but I have written 5000 in a day many times, usually in a 3-4 hour session when I'm riding some inspiration. (Yesterday was 3400 words.)

    The points isand I think it's a good oneif you write consistently every day you'll eventually have a novel. At 3000 words a day, you'll have 90,000 words in only 30 days. Even 1000 words a day would result in a 90,000 word novel in only three months. Even if you're a slow typist, writing a 1000 words should be possible in only an hour or two. I realize the creative process isn't a mathematical one, but this advice does in fact follow the Edison line of "1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration."

    —Michael

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I have only read a handful of his books myself--Salem's Lot, The Dead Zone, Firestarter, Pet Sematary, The Gunslinger, On Writing. The only one that scared me was Pet Sematary. He did a really good job of making re-animated animals frightening.

    It would not take much doing I would expect! But doing it well only using text is not easy.

    But I always found it a bit odd that he is considered a horror writer. It seems to me that most of his work is either fantasy or science-fiction, albeit with horror elements, dealing with psychic powers and possessed cars and mad dogs, etc.

    A lot of SF does have horror in it. Think about Alien. Anything can have horror in it and I suppose and a lot of horror is fantasy. There's no such thing as ghosts and possessed cars. When you get right down to it, Frankenstein is SF and Dracula is fantasy.

     He tried to write a straight up fantasy series with The Talisman but it alienated his fans.

    I have never heard of it, but have just read the plot summary, and many would find horror in the concept. They would also say it could be SF. The distinctions between all the types are not always clear-cut.

    Anyway, I'm not a massive fan, but I just figure he's the picture of success so why not listen to what he has to say? He must be doing something right, and I don't think it's merely luck.

    I would say he is successful, but so are many others who may not write the same way. But quite often many will not say how they write! Then again, some people do find out how some write.

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/the-9-weirdest-writing-habits-of-highly-effective-authors/

    https://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2013/07/19/23-tips-from-famous-writers-for-new-and-emerging-authors/

    His prose is serviceable, sturdy, solid. He writes well and keeps it simple without becoming too pedestrian. His strongest attributes are getting inside the heads of his characters and a mastery of creating indelible images with an economy of prose. I haven't read Firestarter in over 30 years, but I still remember the 'bloody comma' on the wall. The Dead Zone is probably the best of his novels that I've read.

    I have never read any, so cannot judge. Although I could possibly come up with many writers the same praise can be said about.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    King advises budding writers to commit to writing a minimum of 2000 words a day. He says he personally writes 3000 a day come hell or high water.

    Yes, but that is him, not me and not you.

    Even when he was nearly killed after being hit by a speeding car in 1999, he was back to writing when he got out of the hospital. He could only sit up on his shattered pelvis for 40 minutes at a time (with pain medication) but he still wrote until he couldn't bear the agony anymore (discounting the normal amount of agony involved in writing). I have to admire that determination!

    That's rather late on in his writing life. His first novel, Carrie, was published in 1973. With his success his publisher would be begging him for his next book. No offence to the guy, but writing while in bed, is no big deal, in fact there's little else to do! (I know I have been in that situation a few times!) I would be more impressed if he was a bricklayer and the very next month he was back laying bricks.

    I don't give myself a hard limit personally. I just commit to writing every day. Some days, I'll only manage 250-500 words, but I have written 5000 in a day many times, usually in a 3-4 hour session when I'm riding some inspiration. (Yesterday was 3400 words.)

    There's times I do not write for weeks, months, even years. I often lose the inclination, if not always the inspiration. But when I do write I don't count the words. The content is more important than the word count. To me it is anyway.

    The points isand I think it's a good oneif you write consistently every day you'll eventually have a novel. At 3000 words a day, you'll have 90,000 words in only 30 days. Even 1000 words a day would result in a 90,000 word novel in only three months.

    But what is the rush? Are you on a deadline? At 3000 words a year on the same story, you would also eventually have a novel.

     Even if you're a slow typist, writing a 1000 words should be possible in only an hour or two.

    That is hardly slow. Many writers plonk along using just one finger. But what about thinking time? We are writing stories, not training to become copy typists.

     I realize the creative process isn't a mathematical one, but this advice does in fact follow the Edison line of "1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration."

    Just do what is comfortable for you, regardless of any advice from anyone. But to be honest, there's far more than just 1% inspiration when writing fiction, and Edison had a huge team of researchers working for him, so it was not his sweat.

  • I was once much more of a King fan than I am now.

    I haven’t read any of his books after realizing that Pet Sematary was essentially a retelling of “The Monkey’s Paw,” and that W.W. Jacobs did a better job in 4134 words than King did in 170,800.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • I was once much more of a King fan than I am now.

    I haven’t read any of his books after realizing that Pet Sematary was essentially a retelling of “The Monkey’s Paw,” and that W.W. Jacobs did a better job in 4134 words than King did in 170,800.
    I second that; and I stopped in Pet Sematary when he killed off the toddler.

    I did later read Misery at the insistence of a friend, but frankly, the man's got some very dark things bouncing around in his skull.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I haven’t read any of his books after realizing that Pet Sematary was essentially a retelling of “The Monkey’s Paw,” and that W.W. Jacobs did a better job in 4134 words than King did in 170,800.

    It is very hard to come up with something new and refreshing. This chap may have done so though >>   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Miéville

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    edited September 16
    All the rivers run into the sea, and yet the sea is not full.  -- Solomon

  • greyowlstudiogreyowlstudio Author
    edited September 16
    Skoob_ym said:
    I was once much more of a King fan than I am now.

    I haven’t read any of his books after realizing that Pet Sematary was essentially a retelling of “The Monkey’s Paw,” and that W.W. Jacobs did a better job in 4134 words than King did in 170,800.
    I second that; and I stopped in Pet Sematary when he killed off the toddler ... the man's got some very dark things bouncing around in his skull.
    Funny you should say that. Regarding Pet Sematary, this describes some of King's own thoughts about the book. He almost didn't publish it.

    "... the neighborhood children had created a pet cemetery in a field near the Kings' home. King's daughter Naomi buried her cat 'Smucky' there after it was hit, and shortly thereafter their son Owen had a close call running toward the road. King wrote the novel based on their experiences, but feeling he had gone too far with the subject matter of the book, he discarded the idea of having it published, particularly since both his wife Tabitha and friend Peter Straub agreed Pet Sematary was too dark and unenjoyable. However, needing a final book for his contract King reluctantly submitted it to Doubleday on the advice of his wife Tabitha. The subsequent success of the book made King note how both Americans and British readers liked it despite him considering Pet Sematary too bleak in how 'it just spirals down into darkness. It seems to be saying that nothing works and nothing is worth it, and I don’t really believe that.'"

    --Michael
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    All the rivers run into the sea, and yet the sea is not full.  -- Solomon

    He was not aware of evaporation then?

  • All the rivers run into the sea, and yet the sea is not full.  -- Solomon

    He was not aware of evaporation then?

    I assumed one would look up the remainder:

    All the rivers run into the sea, and yet the sea is not full,
    To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again.
    All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it.
    The eye is not filled with seeing,
    Nor is the ear filled with hearing.
    That which has been is that which will be,
    And that which has been done is that which will be done.
    So there is nothing new under the sun.
     - - Eccl. 1:7-9
  • Skoob_ym said:
    I was once much more of a King fan than I am now.

    I haven’t read any of his books after realizing that Pet Sematary was essentially a retelling of “The Monkey’s Paw,” and that W.W. Jacobs did a better job in 4134 words than King did in 170,800.
    I second that; and I stopped in Pet Sematary when he killed off the toddler ... the man's got some very dark things bouncing around in his skull.
    Funny you should say that. Regarding Pet Sematary, this describes some of King's own thoughts about the book. He almost didn't publish it.

    "... the neighborhood children had created a pet cemetery in a field near the Kings' home. King's daughter Naomi buried her cat 'Smucky' there after it was hit, and shortly thereafter their son Owen had a close call running toward the road. King wrote the novel based on their experiences, but feeling he had gone too far with the subject matter of the book, he discarded the idea of having it published, particularly since both his wife Tabitha and friend Peter Straub agreed Pet Sematary was too dark and unenjoyable. However, needing a final book for his contract King reluctantly submitted it to Doubleday on the advice of his wife Tabitha. The subsequent success of the book made King note how both Americans and British readers liked it despite him considering Pet Sematary too bleak in how 'it just spirals down into darkness. It seems to be saying that nothing works and nothing is worth it, and I don’t really believe that.'"

    --Michael
    Christine was, while dark, just dark enough. There was another book published about the same time... Firestarter... that seemed to be somewhat sinister without being absolutely morbid. Cujo, imho, was a bit too drawn out -- but the man could write, and write well. His technique is impeccable. I remember those books being passed around the ship (we were often short on reading material, and a social protocol arose for passing around books one had finished reading).

    Having read them, most of us then went back and found The Stand and 'Salem's Lot -- who can resist a good vampire story? The Bachman Books was the natural next read... Many of us felt that we had uncovered a gold mine of unread narrative, hours of entertainment in the form of a prolific and skillful writer.

    Pet Sematary was too much. It was not like the others. It didn't thrill, it merely titillated morbid curiosity. I utterly agree with the first opinion of his wife, and the advice of Straub.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I assumed one would look up the remainder:

    I see no mention of evaporation.

  • I assumed one would look up the remainder:

    I see no mention of evaporation.

    Sure, you've found the golden nugget in that passage. Well done.
  • HULSEYHULSEY UK Publisher
    I usually have the beginning and ending in mind and the story comes to me as I progress. I am fortunate to have an imagination that has served me so far with twenty-eight novels, and I believe superb plots. I edit after the completion of a chapter using Grammarly, but I often ignore the suggestions. After the completion of the novel, I read over it a couple of times, making adjustments. I then submit it to be published. No, I do not use an editor. I retired from my long career at the steelworks at the age of fifty to concentrate on writing and have lots of time to focus on the editing. As each novel is published, the plots become difficult to manufacture after exhausting so many. I've never suffered with writer's block. Touchwood. It's interesting to read the various routines os so many gifted authors on Lulu. Long may it last.      
  • Arachis_2013Arachis_2013 Florida Panhandle Reader
    Even before the dawn of the word processor, I wrote as if I were using one. That is, using pen and paper, and revising frequently with cross-outs and changes and little arrows pointing here and there. I simply was unable to  work at a typewriter, despite churning out magazine articles (which I did for twenty some years before tackling fiction). Now, I 'build' my narratives with at least a partial outline --- perhaps that should be considered my first draft? Once I do have what I consider a more-or-less finished version of the story, the next 'draft' is essentially line edits and general tidying up.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    In the old days, when a publisher asked for an entire manuscript, they wanted very wide margins and quadruple spacing, so their editors could do exactly that, usually with a red pen.
  • Once I do have what I consider a more-or-less finished version of the story, the next 'draft' is essentially line edits and general tidying up.
    That's where I am now. I'm printing out on paper and proofing/editing with a red pen. It's easier to read on paper--less eye strain. I'm using Courier for the manuscript (as one is supposed to do), and I'm finding it much easier to proof in the monospaced font.

    But basically, yes, it's really just tidying up for me too. I really don't see myself changing anything narrative at this point.

    Michael
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