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Novel Revision - How Many Drafts Should You Write Before You're Done
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There isn't one right answer to this. Some writers plan, others do not. Some exactly know what will happen before they sit down and write, some know the ending without knowing how the characters will reach it, and some start with a situation or a set of characters with very little idea of where the story might take them. Some start at page one and write, and others start by writing key scenes and then link them together later.
All of these methods are fine, although it helps if you at least know the ending and some major crises that happen along the way. If you cannot have these in mind, you can easily get stuck halfway through.
If you have a day job, your book will always be at the back of your mind. You try to go through the day and try to do a good job, but this book is at the back of your mind. There has to be space in your head where your characters can develop even when you are not conscious of them. That is when your best ideas will come to you. Alway carry a notebook with you so you can jot down your ideas.
Schedule at least two uninterrupted hours for writing your book. Try to do this every day. Sit there and write even if you don't think what you are doing is any good. It really doesn't matter right now.
It all depends on how fast you write. Most people can write at least 500 words in two hours. If you write fast without stopping to revise you may do more than that, especially if it is at a time of major action in the plot. But 500 words is the minimum that you should complete at each session otherwise you might lose the thread of your novel.
If you are completely stuck, you might want to introduce a crisis and see how your characters react. It doesn't matter what it is, something completely random just to get you past the block. You can adapt or eliminate it later.
The second draft means for most writers leaving the book for several weeks and then coming back and rewriting the whole thing. It is much easier than writing the first draft and probably you will keep a lot of the scenes and tighten up the pacing, and maybe change the order of events, and cut out some incidents and some minor characters that are not important.
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