Title says it all. I go through about 3 or 4 serious rewrites, and a few dozen version were each is close to the one before it, then maybe one more major rewrite. You all?
If we're talking short stories and flash fiction stuff, then it varies. I had some things called finished, submitted, and published online, all on the first draft.
Other things have had painstaking re-writes, sometimes three times over.
That's about as far as I'd go though. I don't have hte attention span for any more. If I don't feel I've nailed it, even after a re-write or two, then I probably never will.
I think 4 drafts is my max on a short. Like Wicked said, after the third rewrite, if I don't have it, I probably won't have it.
It's different on longer works because I will fine tune a section like a short story, but only do one full rewrite, maybe two, if, like recently, I realize I approached the thing all wrong.
I'm lazy and consider my first draft a work of pure genius, based on my laziness, which highlights my genius.
But in reality, I try to rip through the first draft without much editing - letting the words hit as fast as they fall. Then I'll go back and fix grammar, make minor changes or add a scene or two. Then I'll have it workshopped and take notes and go back for the major rewrite. Do that. Then go back for the minor stuff, clean it up some.
I haven't gotten beyond those points, though I should. Did I mention I'm lazy?
I go through about 3 revisions for some stories. Sometimes I'll re-write it in a completely different style while still maintaining the flow of the story and if it doesn't work out in either way I save all revisions so I can look at them again in the future to see which I would like to pursue.
One example is a story I wrote four years ago about a guy who hits rock bottom and just does something crazy to get things interesting in his life. I wrote that story in first person at first then in third person and then writing it as if it were on a VHS tape full of interviews from the people that knew the main character and everything he ended up doing.
Re-writing can be fun but it's very tiresome when nothing ends up happening. Proofing the work and thinking of more things to add or remove from the story helps like expansions on characters/situations or removal of a useless conversation or sentence that has no effect on the story overall.
I'll say about three or four drafts is my average. I usually do one shit draft, then a rework into a second draft. The second draft I'll perfect a bit and then I'll send it to the workshop. Then, with the workshop feedback, I'll do another heavy rework and some fine-tuning. Depending on the story, I'll do one more draft of fine-tuning, sometimes more. Once I get to the point that I'm editing and rephrasing the same sentences over and over, then I know I need to stop and just send the fucker out.
honestly, as many as it takes. It might take me several rewrites to get the thing out of head and onto the page just right.
I consider the original 'shit' draft and the first re-working to be one and part of the same thing. I call it a done first draft when I am willing to workshop or whatever.
Second draft usually comes after other people eyes have been at it.
@wickedvoodoo - I find it interesting the way other people write. While the "shit" draft shouldn't necessarily be considered a "draft", for some reason I still like to see it that way. I print it out, therefore it is a draft. But that's just my mechanics. I always like having that shit draft with me because I bring it to work and tear the shit out of it during my breaks. I just like having that span of time to reconsider things and refresh the work.
I know I'm done the moment I think, "I'd rather throw this shit away then rewrite it. None of this makes sense. What the fuck is going on in this story? I hate you and I hate myself for creating you."
No more than 3 on a short story. On chapters, like 6 or 7.
If I write a short story it only has one fewer steps then if it is part of a larger book, The Fit With What Else I Have Written About These People Revision.
1) The Hand Written Draft
2) The Literal Cut and Paste Draft (major revision)
3) The 1st Typed Draft (major revision)
4) The Get Rid of the Colored Underlines Versions (minor revision)
5) The Take Out Parts That Aren't Awesome revision (minor revision, mostly)
6) The Save Parts That Are Awesome But Don't Work In This Piece to Another File Revision (very minor revision) *This is the only one that really moves around in the order
7, 8, 9, & 10) Reactions to Others Revision
11) The Remove the Word "That" Revision (minor revision)
12) The Remove the Word "I" Revision (I keep this this in when I don't right 1st person out of habbit from writing so much 1st person, minor revision)
13) The Remove the Word "just" Revision (minor revision)
14) The Remove the Unneeded Revision (middling revision)
15) The Show, Don't Tell Revision (middling revision)
16,17,18, & 19) More Reactions to Others Revision
21) The Fit With What Else I Have Written About These People Revision (skipped in short stories/1st chapter)
22) The Does It Still Flow? Revision
23, 24, 25, & 26) Final Reaction Versions
27) Final Version
28) The Really Final Version Once With Only A Few Minor Changes to Final Version
Everything I write is perfect from draft one and anyone who doesn't think so is mistaken. Also I poop gold.
It still smells like poop, though. And it's brown. And runny. Less spicy food might help.
I'm pretty sure Alien isn't, but I think the rest of us might be.
Depends. Somewhere around 8 lately. Month 6 of writing fiction so hoping this number goes down with time. I also have not been following a well laid out plot board/plan, either.
From what I can see it just goes up as time passes, although I seem to be/see others getting better at it/able to do it faster.
I was serious. I rewrite it until I hate the story. Sometimes that's 2 drafts, sometimes that's 5 drafts. At that point, I either throw it away or workshop it.
"Art is never finished, only abandoned"....or something like that.
Most stuff I write I like to get feedback on before I rewrite but after three or four drafts I lose interest so it's either done or I abandon it. Anything over that, I feel like moving on to a new idea because honestly there are too many great stories in the old subconscious to get stuck on one. I have amazingly perverse things in the back of my mind just waiting to come out. My goal as a writer is to disgust and deform the world one reader at a time. When I'm done, all will be sexual deviants! It's important for a writer to have a goal.
Goals? I always thought the saying was "It's important to have goats."
Well... this changes everything. Somethings.... nothing really.
I just feel like I start to lose it after a few drafts. I don't want to write half hearted junk, so if it needs more than a couple rewrites, I put that shit on the back burner.
I just feel like I start to lose it after a few drafts. I don't want to write half hearted junk...
Usually if I write a story and I feel it doesn't have anything to really "say" about the characters, then I lose it. Lately I've been able to hone in a bit better than usual, but I still have a pretty nice graphic blowjob story I wrote that hasn't seen daylight because I can't figure out what the girl giving the blowjob is really going through...
Paricipating actively in the workshop has made me create less drafts. I'm better able to get my words out right the first time and then fix the little things that I can catch in the second draft. Then I trust in the workshop to open my eyes to those things I wouldn't have noticed in a hundred rewrites.
So it's made me a better writer and a better editor while giving me a lot of support.
I love you guys.
I will make a skin-suit out of all of you, though.
I think workshopping is invaluable. I know I don't see my stories with clear vision. I love getting a few different perspectives.
I suppose that means I should stop procrastinating and put more stuff in the workshop, huh?
@rach - Save the senteces for other projects.
The first draft has to be good though. Rough cut.
My paraphrase from On Writing.
I've been able to one or two re-writes though and get it published. Just get lucky sometimes but it's a waste of points I guess.
3 drafts. This should have been a poll, kids.
First, It's important to have goats! I love that. Here's what I'm doing because it just is happening this way: Rough Draft that is just writing, and it's not supposed to be perfect. Just getting a story. Then, the second draft seems to have inspiration. It's easy for me to make the second draft better. I ususally get an overlay of a better story cause I've been thinking about it subconscously. Then, maybe one more. Then the nit-picking. Then I'm done. And i have a ton in my documents folder that I go back to from time to time to see if they sound better now or if any inspiration can come to me to finish them. Love hearing how you guys work it.
It depends on what you'd consider a completed draft. I'd have several passes through a piece of work looking at different things. A read through from front to back looking defining what each paragraph is trying to do. A read through highlighting verbs in order to strengthen then. A read through from back to front finding typos and sentences which don't work grammatically. Look at description to see if it's too little/too much... If I have time to do all of this over the course of a couple of days, then that's 1 draft. If I know I'm not going to get back to again for a week or more then I might have to consider that draft re-write over, otherwise I forget where I was at...
@Brandon - Polls aren't good from options that go from 3 to my 22 with explanations of what does and doesn't count as a draft, and different numbers for different types/lengths of works.
Chuck Palahniuk only writes two kinds of drafts...perfect and perfectly AWESOME!
yeah, i do my best to THINK and CHEW on an idea for as long as possible, and then when i'm ready, it spills out. i try to edit on the fly as i go, to get it righth the first time. i'll probably go through and edit anywhere from 3-6 times.
novels are a differerent beasts, can't even say how many edits, or rounds of edits I put into Transubstantiate and/or Disintegration. Maybe 20-25, hard to say. Ran them both through Write Club, so if I just take my first dump, then each of the different peer reviews, that's six. I think I changed Transubstantiate from first past tense to first present tense, that was one painful edit. probably one edit for plot points, one edit for setting, one for dialogue. i also like to run it through a word search edit of some kind, see what words pop up the most and then edit that too (flesh, sheen, fuck) so i don't overuse a word too much. what's that, 11? edits back from the press, the editors, and all of that. and then random things pop up. sometimes plot points alone can trickle down and cause 5-6 rounds of edits to fix.
but for short stories, such as the WAR, i write it, that's one. read through it, and fix obvious things, that's two. set it aside, read it over once more, polish it up, that's three. submit. did pretty well for me, up until the last round, that is.
like some people here said, i know it's done when i can't look at it anymore.
I write, leave it for a good few weeks n read it again. Do a re-write, and 1 set of tweaks with the publisher. That said, my stuff is shitty and stupid. I don't have to suffer the hard yards of propper writers.
I find it hard to count it by drafts. I have a first draft, I'll let it sit for a bit then I have a WIP until it's finished. I have stages, but I don't really see them as drafts. For instance, I'll go through the whole thing for one character's dialogue.