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Finishing a book

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  • #56182
    Brink
    @nuetrobolt

    Not that I’m anywhere near to finishing my book, but I’ve been wondering for a while, how do you finish your book? After you’re done the first draft, I mean.

    I’ve heard lots of people talk about ‘first drafts’, and that gets me wondering. Do you have to write a second draft? How many drafts do you have to write? How do you write second/third drafts? Do you just go through the whole book rereading the whole thing, and correcting and rewriting parts? Or do you start a whole new document and start afresh? (Which wouldn’t make much sense, I guess.)

    And after you’ve written all the drafts, what then do you do? Do you get it beta read at this point, or before the second draft? Do need beta readers?

    Are there any other steps after all the afore mentioned steps, or is all that’s left is to get it published?

    And what about getting it published? How do you do self-published? I don’t know the name for the other form of published, but how do you do it? And after publishing? Are there any steps afterword?

    Sorry, this is a lot of questions. As you can see, I don’t know much (anything) beyond first drafts. Never yet finished a full length novel.

    Thanks!

    Your story is yours and no one else's. Each sunset is different, depending where you stand. -A. Peterson

    #56191
    Buddy J.
    @wordsmith

    @nuetrobolt

    Ah! Great questions. I can’t answer any of them to their full extent, and there are some I won’t bother trying to touch, but I may be able to shed at least a little light on your first question… by tagging these people: @hope-ann  @josiah  @briannastorm  @daeus-lamb

    But… I will say that there is worth (quite a bit) to rewriting a second draft on a blank page.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Buddy J..

    Published author, reader of many books, Student in writing, and Lumenite!

    #56205
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    @nuetrobolt Good questions!

    “Do you have to write a second draft? How many drafts do you have to write? How do you write second/third drafts? Do you just go through the whole book rereading the whole thing, and correcting and rewriting parts? Or do you start a whole new document and start afresh?”

    Yes, so most authors have more than one draft. How they go about writing the second one can vary. Usually, writers will just go back through and edit their first draft to create their second draft. I’ve rarely heard of people doing the “whole new document and start afresh” method, but I have run into a couple, as well as doing it once myself.

    My normal editing process though, to go from draft one to draft two, is simply reading through, fixing grammar, trying to flesh out my characters better, cutting out unnecessary scenes, clarifying confusing parts, rewriting prose to sound better, etc – just stuff like that. For my third draft, I print out a couple pages at a time and read it aloud – I find a lot more mistakes that way. Then, fourth draft, I let a close friend or family member read and give feedback.

    Past that, I have no personal experience, but I’m planning to actually try out a beta reader process in the next couple months, so I’m going to stick around here and hope that someone might drop some advice on how to do that. 🙂

     

     

     

    #56383
    Hope Ann
    @hope-ann

    Yep. Lots and lots of drafts. Authors probably rewrite more than they actually write.  For me, the first draft of a story tends to have lots of plot holes and be very rough. I heard once that the first draft is the author telling the story to themselves, and in most cases that isn’t far from the truth.

    Once I get the first draft done, I go though and do big edits. Sometimes this amounts to practically rewriting the novel, which is what I’ll be doing with my current one. Getting the voices writen, smoothing out or switching up scenes, adding in details, etc. After that draft is done, I may repeat the process. Or, if I feel it was understandable, I’ll send it out to beta readers.

    Then I’ll edit again. And again. Some books might run to a dozen or so drafts, with each one getting more detailed. Once the overall story is good, I’ll move into working on subtext and prose. Then onto editing (though one should get a professional editor before publishing, as much self-editing as possible is good). At some point during that, I’ll read the book out loud to myself because my ear can catch more than my eye.

    So yeah. Lots of reworking and editing. Probably a few rounds of beta readers, depending how long it is. Then, for self-publishing, you need an editor and a cover. Traditional publishing, which is the word you are looking for, is a whole other topic involving writing proposals and query letters and all kinds of stuff, and a bit longer than I have time for now. 😉 But yeah. Publishing is much more than just writing a book. There’s marketing and people and all kinds of things. At this point, I’d not stress about it too much. Research is good, but the full picture can be a little overwhelming at the beginning. 😛

    Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.

    #56411
    Brink
    @nuetrobolt

    @hope-ann  @evelyn  @wordsmith

    Thanks for all these great answers. I had heard you have to be severe with your editing, but I have such a bad time with that.

    Thanks!

    Your story is yours and no one else's. Each sunset is different, depending where you stand. -A. Peterson

    #56435
    Hope Ann
    @hope-ann

    @nuetrobolt Having beta readers helps. 😉

    Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.

    #56746
    Brianna Storm Hilvety
    @briannastorm

    @nuetrobolt Hope nailed it, but I will add that the more revisions you perform, the better your chances of success (either at getting traditionally published or gaining an audience of readers who respect, value, and enjoy your books). Writing multiple drafts, recruiting beta readers, and then hiring a professional editor to help you with your weakest points (whether sentence-level issues or plot-related problems) will provide the best results. 🙂

    Each writer has different methods and preferences for how they whip their manuscripts into shape, but generally you’ll need to create a system where you tend to the big-picture issues first and work your way down to fixing typos and grammar. The latter isn’t less important, but fussing over small errors doesn’t make sense when an entire chapter needs gutted and rewritten. 😉

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