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View Full Version : What, to you, is a 'draft' of a book?


Idkwiaowiw
07-22-2009, 10:23 AM
I've been very curious what different people actually consider one "draft" of a book. For example, if you wrote a novel completely from scratch, you would consider that draft one, right? Then, if you looked through it and made changes and fixed the spelling/grammar, would you consider that draft two? To me, a draft and a rewrite are the same thing. The "second draft" for me would be opening up a new document and writing Chapter One. Sorry if this makes no sense.

The Lonely One
07-22-2009, 10:56 AM
It's a terminology quibble, I think. Drafting is a way of compartmentalizing our progress on improving a manuscript, but it isn't a real thing (IMO). You can call a draft a rewrite, the next guy can call it spelling fixes. As long as it all gets done, I think it's to each his or her own.

P.S. personally, I think a new draft is whatever someone might, in an imaginary scenario, feel comfortable giving to a reader and saying "this is the new version." If it hasn't been improved upon enough to make that reader trudge through it, I don't think it's a draft. That's just my personal standard.

Greenify13
07-22-2009, 11:10 AM
I've been very curious what different people actually consider one "draft" of a book. For example, if you wrote a novel completely from scratch, you would consider that draft one, right? Then, if you looked through it and made changes and fixed the spelling/grammar, would you consider that draft two? To me, a draft and a rewrite are the same thing. The "second draft" for me would be opening up a new document and writing Chapter One. Sorry if this makes no sense.
Interesting question, and my take on it:
Just found it for you, it will explain it better then my rambling. (http://artsci.shu.edu/english/1201/writing-terms.htm) :D

Now, for most what it says in 3rd/4th drafts, is often part of the second draft/revision/rewrite/edited version...:)

mlazzer
07-22-2009, 11:56 AM
I don't know what everyone else calls it, but I'm working on my first draft. When I polish it later, I call that second draft. So, yes, to me a finished re-write is a following draft.

Fuchsia Flower
07-22-2009, 12:03 PM
I could be wrong but every time I get to the end again I consider that another draft done. I'm only on draft three and I'm still making major changes and going through the whole book front to back with a fine comb, but for motivation reasons I will probably still consider it another draft when I'm just looking for typo's.

SilverPhoenix
07-22-2009, 12:12 PM
I believe second draft is when there's enough significant change or improvement through editing to the novel, or if an entire rewrite is done.

Vegetables
07-22-2009, 12:18 PM
To me, here's my draft system:

Draft One: Rough draft (duh)
Draft Two: Plot is changed a lot. I mess up the order of the sequence and screw around a lot with it.
Draft Three: After I have my plot and the sequence of events firmly in place, I totally rewrite the entire thing.

After that, it's just 'editing.'

Shara
07-22-2009, 12:36 PM
I've been very curious what different people actually consider one "draft" of a book. For example, if you wrote a novel completely from scratch, you would consider that draft one, right? Then, if you looked through it and made changes and fixed the spelling/grammar, would you consider that draft two? To me, a draft and a rewrite are the same thing. The "second draft" for me would be opening up a new document and writing Chapter One. Sorry if this makes no sense.

This is also my take on 'draft'. I get to the end, I make a new folder called 'Draft 2'; I start again with Chapter 1. Drafts 2 and 3 for me usually involve major rewriting. When I get to Draft 4 and beyond, sometimes I'm just taking the chapter from the earlier draft and give it some minor tweaks, but if it's Draft 4, it gets saved again in the Draft 4 folder, regardless of how many changes are being made.

The 'Final Draft' is when I get to the point when I decide that the book is ready to go out (not when I feel there are no more changes to be made, because if I did that I would never finish a book). And then 'Final Draft' is what that folder gets to be called.

People do things differently. All writers seem to have their own little rituals, so whatever works for you is fine.

Shara

DarkDesireX
07-22-2009, 12:38 PM
The only thing I really consider a draft is the layout I write up before I start writing. After that any bulk is a WIP, or an IM.

After I've finished working it the first time through (finished writing the story itself - sans any real editing) it's still only a WIP.

Pepper
07-22-2009, 04:13 PM
First draft = the original. I started with a blank screen. I might edit and rewrite. I might ditch total chapters. It's still the first draft until I'm happy when I reach The End.

Second draft = the revist. I've finished draft one and I'm pretty sure it's as good as it gets. I go back to the beginning and look at things with a more critical eye. All the big questions get asked. Suddenly I realise that some major features of my manuscript are royally stuffed up. All the major issues that flow through the story get worked on. I change and expand and cut until I reach The End.

Third draft = the nitpicks. Spelling, grammar, wording. All the major issues should be resolved during the second draft. Now it's just cleaning up, until I reach The End.

DeleyanLee
07-22-2009, 04:15 PM
The first draft is when I take it out of my head and put it into words. It's finished when I end the story/book.

The second draft is when I go through what's in words to make sure it's the story I wanted to tell and adjust as need be until I've done all the adjustments I feel is necessary.

There may be a third draft if I give it to betas and they come back with substantial comments.

I don't call reading through it for typos, grammar, etc. a draft--that's just a read-through.

Generally, I don't do more drafts than that.

Ruv Draba
07-22-2009, 04:37 PM
For me, the first draft of a scene is the first readable form of the scene in which everything is there: location, characters, conflict, dialogue, narration, resolution.

The first draft of a story is the first version of the manuscript in which each of the necessary scenes is in first draft or better. In other words, nothing is skipped or just summarised. I can tell when everything's there when each major character has a complete through-line and all the conflicts resolve.

I can go through a lot of writing and rewriting of scenes before I hit first draft. Some scenes may be redesigned and rewritten several times before I can put the other scenes in place. It's only first draft once I have a whole manuscript that tells a story.

Aggy B.
07-22-2009, 05:20 PM
A draft, for me, is a document that has the beginning, middle and end of my story and in which my MC has a somewhat reasonable character arc. My outline for a story is a "draft" in my mind.

After the outline I write out as many scenes as seem necessary to tell the story arc and give a good sense of that "beginning, middle and end."

Then I go back through and fill in holes, take out fluff, flesh out supporting characters and so on. I do this by starting at the beginning and working more or less through to the end repeatedly until I feel the novel has nothing missing. Each of those journeys through the manuscript is a draft. Right now I am on the third pass through the MS. (Although there have also been two outlines so that could mean this is the fifth, not the third, draft.)

Little revisions to correct spelling and grammar and all that, I do not consider drafts.

Charlie Horse
07-22-2009, 05:33 PM
Like someone else said, every time I go through it and make changes until I hit the end is a draft. However, tinkering around in random spots doesn't count.

scarletpeaches
07-22-2009, 06:30 PM
First draft: Speed-written. All about words. Give myself permission to write crap.

Second draft: Open up a new word document and either type corrections from my marked-up print out, or, if there aren't too many for one particular chapter, paste from first draft and edit on screen. Keep going 'til I get to the end. Cut out all the wangst, unnecessary characters and shit. All about story development rather than word count.

And I'm done.

J. Koyanagi
07-22-2009, 07:13 PM
First draft for me is the first complete, start-to-finish version of the manuscript. Second draft might involve major surgery on the plot and characterization. Third draft fine-tunes everything, including editing. Additional drafts come after feedback.

lucidzfl
07-22-2009, 07:39 PM
Who cares about first draft, second draft, etc.

If its not polished and submitted for query, its a draft.

sleepsheep
07-22-2009, 09:20 PM
I think it's just a matter of semantics. There's "First Draft" - that is when you've written The End. There's "Final Draft" - that is where you are through editing. What you call everything in between doesn't really matter, as long as you get from first to final.

lucidzfl
07-22-2009, 09:56 PM
I think it's just a matter of semantics. There's "First Draft" - that is when you've written The End. There's "Final Draft" - that is where you are through editing. What you call everything in between doesn't really matter, as long as you get from first to final.

Way to paraphrase me and make it sound better asshole.

:)

sleepsheep
07-22-2009, 09:59 PM
Way to paraphrase me and make it sound better asshole.

:)

It wasn't much of a challenge, frankly.

lucidzfl
07-22-2009, 10:40 PM
It wasn't much of a challenge, frankly.

Don't you get spicy with me. I have friends in NYC.

I KNOW PEOPLE!

Wark
07-22-2009, 10:40 PM
First First Draft -> First First Draft Rewrite -> First Draft

First Draft -> 'I think it's Right' Draft -> 'Off to Betas' Draft

'Beat up by Betas' Draft -> First Rewrite -> 'I think it's Right' Draft -> 'Oh, hell, I already used the Betas' Draft -> 'Hell, I dunno I never got this Far' Draft

Repartee
07-22-2009, 10:49 PM
First First Draft -> First First Draft Rewrite -> First Draft

First Draft -> 'I think it's Right' Draft -> 'Off to Betas' Draft

'Beat up by Betas' Draft -> First Rewrite -> 'I think it's Right' Draft -> 'Oh, hell, I already used the Betas' Draft -> 'Hell, I dunno I never got this Far' Draft

:D
I think that just about sums it up, lol.

caitysdad
07-22-2009, 10:51 PM
To me, a draft is slight tinkering with the difference being no major changes. If I'm making major changes then I consider that a rewrite.

Chasing the Horizon
07-22-2009, 11:20 PM
I usually just have a first draft and a final draft. That's because I consider it a new 'draft' only when I create a new document, and I usually save my unedited original as one doc and then make all the revisions and edits in another copy (just in case I screw something up I can go back and retrieve the original scene from the original draft).

Use Her Name
07-23-2009, 12:05 AM
I think that re-writing the book from start to finish is not totally nescessary now that computers are used for word processing. I also think that re-writing from start to finish should also be done at least once after the entire first draft is done. The first draft usually is very messy and needs a lot of editing.

Matera the Mad
07-23-2009, 04:51 AM
Except for a first draft -- whatever there is when I get to the end of the last chapter for the first time -- I don't do drafts. I just go back and keep pegging away at each chapter until it's getting fairly good. Then I start really tightning. I guess I'd have to say I have a first draft, an epic slog, and a sort of final draft. My chapters are all separate files, making it easier to work on each one's problems independently, and compare passages that might be too similar or disagree.

DMarie84
07-23-2009, 06:33 AM
A draft for me is anything that's not completed and ready to send out for submission.

I stop numbering though after the third and then just say "current" draft.

SarahMacManus
07-23-2009, 07:27 PM
I consider a "draft" the whole story written out from beginning to end. After that I either "revise" or "rewrite". I don't bother to number them. I'm done when I'm done.

AuburnAssassin
07-23-2009, 07:43 PM
Man, I have no discipline as I've been continuously writing and editing since day 1 though certainly the % of new writing to % of changes to existing writing shifts toward the latter the further along I go. But to me it's been a seamless process like a painting. Other than the few copies I memorialized either because I printed them out, sent them to my Kindle or sent them to someone else to read, I have nothing that divides one draft from the next and that will remain the case until my novel is published or I burn it.