August 25, 2017 @ 12:46 PM

Seven Sensible Steps to Success as a Writer
Step 6 (continued): How many drafts?

With the first and second drafts of the book completed, the question arises: How many drafts should one do?

Like most things involving the creative arts, there is no fixed rule about the matter. It depends entirely on the individual writer and the success - or otherwise - of each particular draft.

Some writers can do up to ten drafts before they’re satisfied. Even then, it is sad but true to realise that nothing is ever as sublime as it seemed in that first glow of inspiration. When the Muse spoke.

For myself, I usually do three drafts of a book on the computer before I send it to the publisher to read, after which it’s sometimes necessary to do a fourth draft.

It’s important that one makes it clear which version it is in the catchline - or copyline - on the header of each page. For me, it’s generally something like ‘Soldier Boy first draft’, and often I'll put the date as well - 4 April 2017 - to avoid any confusion.

Clarity is everything – as much in the text you keep as the final version, no less than the text you ultimately decide to discard.

Next: Taking a break…

Photo: First page of the second draft of For Love of Country. See the catchline at the top and date at the foot of the page.