• Rachel Paige

You Need Another Draft

Here's something a lot of writers (especially new writers) seem to forget. Writing takes a long time. Writing a novel takes a very long time. Especially if you've never been published.

Rushing into the publishing process is typically not a good idea. Here's my thoughts on what you should be doing before you begin to think about publishing.

First, write the entire novel. This seems obvious, but I know people who were already looking at agents or planning on self-publishing and only had a couple chapters written.

Second, let it sit for at least a month. You'll learn to know what your ideal cooling period is, but give it at least a month. Then, do a second draft. A deep one. Tear apart the first draft and be willing to cut and chop anything and everything. Move scenes and chapters. Add characters. Kill characters. Do what you need to do.

Then, give it a read through from start to finish. If you're happy, move forward and start looking for a beta reader. If you don't know, a beta reader is another writer who reads your entire novel and gives you feedback. A test reader, essentially. The amount and type of feedback they give will be based on your agreement. You can find a beta reader to hire online, or ask a writer friend (but be sure it's a friend who can tell you the truth). Then, read through their comments and write another draft. Do another cooling period. A lot has changed by now, you need to let it sit before you really know what you're working with. During this time, start to write a query letter and proposal. get yourself read to look for publishers. Read the entire story again. This is your chance to notice if anything doesn't sit right. Then, you can start looking for an agent or a publisher. And do this slowly, too. Read about them carefully and choose a publisher or agent you feel you'll match with. Research what they like to read. Find out how they want to be contacted. Follow all the submission guidelines they give. Don't give them an easy reason to reject you. Then, start accepting the rejections. They will come and you need to get used to that. You probably just didn't mesh well enough with who you're submitting with or they didn't have enough of a passion for your story. They are rejecting you because they want what's best for your story, not because you suck. Finally, don't be discouraged if this takes years, because it probably will. Writing a novel takes a long time. You can't rush the project. Rushing it will make it take longer. And remember, before you can decide what the cover of your novel will look like and who will play the characters in the movie adaptation, you need to write the novel. So sit down and get started. But, if you're still on the first draft, you don't need to worry about publishing yet. Just write it for now.

How many drafts have you done if your novel? Do you ever find yourself rushing the process?

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