82 posts in this topic

Ha-ha, remember this thread?

Well, here is an excellent, and thought-provoking article that plays directly into what we do here*.

https://harpers.org/archive/2014/11/spare-the-darling/

 

(* Yes, I know I haven't critiqued in a while. I think I'm about to dive back in soon.)

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I'm not entirely sure if this is the right place to post this, but I'm wondering what counts as a first draft, second draft, third draft, etc.. When does a first draft become a second draft? What about a third? Are there certain qualifications for each?

I looked this up online and couldn't find an answer, I'm not sure if that's because this is something really obvious or if everyone has their own definition or if it's for some other reason.

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts/explanations.

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Hurray! Thanks for posting here. I love to chat about the process of writing, hence the thread!

I suspect it's probably "All of the above". TBH, it never really occurred to me that a draft would have to fulfil any particular characteristics to qualify as any particular level of draft, so I would say there is no definition of First Draft, Second Draft, third Draft, etc. Except...

Probably something that everyone could agree on is that first draft has to contain the whole story from beginning to end, even if the end and the beginning change later; get cut or expanded. But what is 'Draft Zero' then, which is a term I've heard now and again? I have always thought that would be a skeleton of the story, maybe even a complete outline? And yet no, because that would be an outline, surely. So, I guess Zeroth draft would be a version of the story that you know has scenes, chapters, even a character POV missing, but still goes from the start to the end?

For me, the next draft is just the one after I've revised from the previous one. So, if I pick up second draft of my story and edit it, it becomes the third draft, and that then becomes the fourth, fifth, eighth, whatever. However, if I do a minor edit, I'll call that Draft 2a (or Xa, X = whatever draft number it started as), because I've maybe only edited some targeted editor clarifications, rather than changing anything particularly substantive.

BUT, when I get to the end, I'll have what might be called a Final Draft (regardless of what number it is) that goes to the publisher, or gets submitted to a market, and when (if) I get that back with copyedits, or maybe even small-scale developmental edits, I've already dropped the numbering, because the story is in its final shape. At this point, file names tend to get a bit silly, like "10 The World of Juno - Gxx ox Txx Hxxxx - Robin C.M. Duncan (draft 2a)_WCT edits_RCMD" etc. (Bad example, because this one is still a numbered draft, and it's about to become "draft 3", and I'll drop all those tags.

What about you, @FlowerGirl, how do you deal with these things?

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27 minutes ago, Robinski said:

Hurray! Thanks for posting here. I love to chat about the process of writing, hence the thread!

I suspect it's probably "All of the above". TBH, it never really occurred to me that a draft would have to fulfil any particular characteristics to qualify as any particular level of draft, so I would say there is no definition of First Draft, Second Draft, third Draft, etc. Except...

Probably something that everyone could agree on is that first draft has to contain the whole story from beginning to end, even if the end and the beginning change later; get cut or expanded. But what is 'Draft Zero' then, which is a term I've heard now and again? I have always thought that would be a skeleton of the story, maybe even a complete outline? And yet no, because that would be an outline, surely. So, I guess Zeroth draft would be a version of the story that you know has scenes, chapters, even a character POV missing, but still goes from the start to the end?

For me, the next draft is just the one after I've revised from the previous one. So, if I pick up second draft of my story and edit it, it becomes the third draft, and that then becomes the fourth, fifth, eighth, whatever. However, if I do a minor edit, I'll call that Draft 2a (or Xa, X = whatever draft number it started as), because I've maybe only edited some targeted editor clarifications, rather than changing anything particularly substantive.

BUT, when I get to the end, I'll have what might be called a Final Draft (regardless of what number it is) that goes to the publisher, or gets submitted to a market, and when (if) I get that back with copyedits, or maybe even small-scale developmental edits, I've already dropped the numbering, because the story is in its final shape. At this point, file names tend to get a bit silly, like "10 The World of Juno - Gxx ox Txx Hxxxx - Robin C.M. Duncan (draft 2a)_WCT edits_RCMD" etc. (Bad example, because this one is still a numbered draft, and it's about to become "draft 3", and I'll drop all those tags.

What about you, @FlowerGirl, how do you deal with these things?

Thanks for the explanation, I'm really glad there isn't something super obvious I'm missing. :)

Personally I've never really labeled my drafts, I start with an outline, then draft the book, then revise it until I'm happy with it. I don't have a set method, I just do what feels correct and hope something coherent comes out in the end.

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Posted (edited)

21 hours ago, FlowerGirl said:

Thanks for the explanation, I'm really glad there isn't something super obvious I'm missing. :)

Personally I've never really labeled my drafts, I start with an outline, then draft the book, then revise it until I'm happy with it. I don't have a set method, I just do what feels correct and hope something coherent comes out in the end.

Well, we're both missing it if there is :) 

Yeah, I think what feels right is the key.

Edited by Robinski
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Pretty much just nodding along here. I try to save a copy of each draft where I've made substantive changes, so I as far as I'm concerned the next draft is just once I've gotten from beginning to end and made all the changes I intended to with that specific revision pass. I might do one or two developmental edits that are draft one and two, a draft where I'm still adding or deleting things but not making huge structural changes, a cleanup pass where I look for continuity issues I've inevitably introduced during the developmental revision process (:rolleyes:) and a line editing pass - which for me is actually usually two passes, one specifically to trim word count because I tend to be wordy off the hop and one actual line edit pass where I'm reading for things like prosody and voice. I'll then do a final copy edit too, before sending it to publisher/market/etc, but those things generally aren't substantive enough for me to bother preserving in different drafts. That's only about what I do or don't feel like keeping, though. Certainly no hard and fast rules here.

But @Robinski, I may have the solution to your file naming problem! I letter my drafts before finalization and switch to numerals once they're finalized. So I might have, say:

JackofDiamonds-RevA
JackofDiamonds-RevB
JackofDiamonds-Rev0
JackofDiamonds-Rev1

where Rev0 was what I submitted to the publisher and Rev1 was the changes I made after getting comments back.

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Interesting. My challenge would be to standardise that approach, and then to remember what the letters meant, but yeah. I don't mind long file names, and I can see at a glance, but they ain't pretty like yours!

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