As writers, often we are our own worst critics. We’re typically either too ruthless or not critical enough of our own stories and articles! Worse, we sometimes even hate the good parts of our manuscript and love the poorly written sections.
Of course, not everything we write is perfect the first time around. Our writing almost always needs proofreading and some revising. The challenge is to ensure your inner editor rather than your inner critic speaks to you.
Your inner critic differs from your inner editor. Your inner critic says, “This is rubbish, utter crap!” Your inner editor says, “I can write this better than it currently is.” Your inner critic says you’ve never been and never will be a good speller and crumples then tosses the manuscript because it reads flat and vanilla. Your inner editor corrects spelling errors and recognizes then revises passive voice passages.
Your inner editor understands that revising involves patching up and reworking your story, not giving up on it. Such revising may require writing new sections or even just starting over. It’s sometimes referred to as “rewriting” or “drafting.”
Imagine if a contractor came into a building under construction the day the foundation was poured and declared the structure unfit for habitation. Of course it would be. Construction workers have yet to erect the walls. Electricians have yet to install the wiring. Plumbers have yet to connect pipes.
Each draft you write is like a successive stage in this building project. You outline the plot. You add characters and dialogue. You include a description of the setting. As doing this, you notice that some of the action scenes are a little rough and so bring back in your creativity to finish that job. Then you continue with writing the climax, and so on. As the writer, you are not just the contractor but also each of the construction workers for your book.
How many drafts are required? There’s no magic number, though usually the less experienced of a writer you are, the more drafts that will be needed. When you feel there’s no way you can make the book any better than it is, you’ll know you’ve reached the final draft.
My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.