Drafts and Re-Drafts: Why Once is Never Enough.




Let’s be honest:

Finishing is awesome!!!

Finishing a novel is even awesome-er.


The feeling when you get to type “The End” at the bottom of that last page feels great.

Maybe there’s a bottle of something bubbly in the back of the fridge, some thing that’s been there for weeks, months, maybe even years, waiting for the day you finally put the finishing touches of your labour of love.

You want to crack it open, but there’s something nagging at you, something that makes you feel that something isn’t quite right about celebrating the end of the book.

Something that feels…..unfinished.

There’s a reason for that: It IS unfinished.

Or at least it SHOULD be; If you publish your first draft, you are one of two things:

  1. A Genius
  2. An Idiot.

(Statistically, there are relatively few geniuses writing, so…….)

Maybe calling someone an “idiot” is harsh.

“Ill-advised” might be a better way of putting it.

The brutal truth is that one pass through a manuscript is almost never enough.

There are a number of reasons for that:

One of the most common things that Writers and Writing Teachers will tell you  or want to impress  upon you is the idea that you learn what the story is about by writing the first draft.

Terry Pratchett has his take on first drafts:



Papa Hemingway has his:




Both are correct; The problem is that, too often, as we are writing that first draft, we can’t help but compare our first efforts to the polished finished work of others.

So, remember to just write. Revision and polishing can only happen if you actually have something to work with.

You can’t fix what you haven’t written.






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