Multiple Edits are Necessary

I mentioned recently how embarrassing it would be if someone actually read one of my first drafts. I’d be mortified because half of it might not even make sense to a reader. This is why manuscripts go through multiple edits.

The Desk
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2016.

That first draft is so often horrendous. Typos like you wouldn’t believe. Sentences, paragraphs, and sometimes whole sections, don’t even make sense. Sometimes I sit here, seemingly FOREVER, wondering where the heck was I going with this? or what the heck does this even mean? before finally figuring it out – or scrapping that part all together.

Other times, there’s hardly any errors at all.

Go figure.

The first draft, for me anyway, is nothing more than a brain dump. It’s me, needing to get all these ideas onto paper or into that document. There is this urgency that means I need to type as fast as I can so I can be sure to get everything out and not forget anything.

Then I put the manuscript away. Sometimes for months.

When I take it out again, I have to decipher what I had written. Some of it seems like some secret code I must have for gotten. That first edit is a huge one, requiring lots of time and work, but when I’m done the manuscript makes more sense.

The second edit usually takes about half the time. There may be a few typos that were missed during the first edit, maybe some rearranging of paragraphs and rewording of sentences.

A third edit will still result in a few flaws, easily fixed more quickly, and I will edit yet again if there were.

Hopefully I am done by then. If not, I’ll keep going until there are no further edits.

I miss an edit here and there sometimes. We all do.

A lot of hours go into those initial edits, and plenty of time on the others, but the end result is a pretty well put together story for readers to enjoy.



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