It’s the End of…My Second Draft

Yes, I did go for the lame apocalypse tie-in.  I feel you; it’s not my finest hour.  On the other hand, I’m going to have “It’s the end of the world as I know it…” stuck in my head all day, so, if I’ve managed to inflict the same upon you, it makes me feel better.

On with the actual subject of the post: Yesterday, I send the last section of the 2nd draft of Power of the Mages to my beta readers.

Aside – I sent the book in (6) five-chapter increments.  Because of where I was on the learning curve, this method helped me.  The knowledge I gained from reading the comments from the first part made the later chapters better.  However, sending the work out piecemeal made life difficult for the readers.  They couldn’t really get into the flow of the book, and I made changes to the plot and character arcs (even names!) in the later chapters that made them go, “Huh?”  I’m going to have to send the finished 3rd draft out for more comments.  Summary – though doing it this way worked for me this time, I wouldn’t recommend sending out incomplete works.

Now, I have a huge challenge ahead of me.  I want to get my novel in the best possible shape to enter in Amazon’s contest on January 14.  My first goal is to get as far on the 3rd draft as I can by January 7.  To give you an idea of what this means:

  • 1st draft = word vomit
  • 2nd draft = coherent and readable
  • 3rd draft = more emotion and tension, tighter POV, a lot of little things that will more engage the reader, pick up beta reader comments

Best case scenario — and this is really ambitious — I’ll get through Chapter 10 by the 7th.  The question becomes: what is the best use of my time in the remaining week?

  1. Take another up to 3 chapters from 2nd draft to 3rd draft – OR
  2. Go through all the rest of the 2nd draft chapters and correct major errors and typos based on beta reader comments.

The arguments for the first path are:

  1. I doubt I’m going to win the Amazon contest with a submission that is only partially finished with the 3rd draft, so, rather than wasting my time making corrections that I’ll have to go back over anyway, I should just continue on with the 3rd draft.
  2. A few more complete and totally engaging chapters will give me more of a chance to win than getting rid of typos in the last half of the book.
  3. My writing improved markedly after around Chapter 14.  The last half of the book is much more polished than the first half, so my time is better served working on the worst sections.

The arguments for the second option are:

  1. The 2nd draft is really rough in spots.  If I don’t smooth it out, I have less chance of winning.
  2. Typos and mistakes will completely sink me.

That’s the debate I’m having internally, and I’d love some input in the comments section.

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One thought on “It’s the End of…My Second Draft

  1. Tricky one. If I were you, I’d take a middle ground. I’d do as much up until chapter 14 as I can, but reserve two days between now and the submission date for the competition for proofreading, and go through fixing typos. As you go through the second half, the part you’ve got brought up to 3rd draft standard, make a note – put a comment in or a post-it note if you’re working on hard copy, in places you think need more work. Then if there’s time left, you can work on those at the end. It’s probably squashing a lot of work into a short period of time – cutting two days from the “taking it up to 3rd draft standard” time to proofread the second half, but I think it will be worth it if it increases your chances of getting somewhere with the Amazon contest.

    Good luck.

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