Last week a tweet from @AdviceToWriters caught my attention:
I’ve been thinking about that a lot since then. I’m currently in my third draft. It’s pretty universally acknowledged that first drafts suck, but thinking about Gladwell’s quote was both frustrating and comforting at the same time. While it’s daunting to suppose I’ll have to write five more drafts before it’s any good, I’ve found I like being able to say, “Yeah, it’s only a third draft. It still sucks. But it’ll get better.”
However, if I’ve learned anything about writers from reading their blogs and hearing from them at conferences, it’s that every writer works a little differently. There are actually some writers out there who outline so carefully that they can pretty much write a novel in one draft. These people might make us sick to our stomachs in theory, but they do actually exist. And so, I figure, there must be a whole spectrum, from one drafters to twenty drafters. And wouldn’t that be a fun way to identify yourself?
I know one of the past presidents of my alma mater, BYU, advocated for eight drafts. Malcolm Gladwell obviously suggests at least that many. Here’s your chance to vote on what you think.
And feel free to vote even if you’re not a fiction writer. As a reader, do you prefer writers who seem like they’ve gone over the manuscript twenty times, perfecting every detail and layering in the subtleties, or do you just want an awesome story that might come together in just a few drafts?