When I'm drafting my novels I think in threes: first draft is fast and lean and messy (remember Anne Lamott and shitty first drafts); second draft (aka revision) comes after I've had the chance to take a breather and then give my book a focused read so I can sense what needs expanding, cutting, honing, deepening, this time moving at a slower pace--remember that revision is seeing again with fresh eyes; if all goes well my third draft is about "housekeeping"--tidying up, freshening up, tossing out, and adding the final touches.
When I speak with writers, some new to the craft and others experienced, I am surprised by how often they are harboring the belief that a novel should come out close-to-perfect in one draft. So very not true. By drafting--sometimes revising three or four or more times--and working from beginning to end fairly quickly each time, you can avoid the trap of the "first fifty pages writer": the writer who keeps working and reworking those first few chapters until she digs a rut so deep she cannot escape to complete the book.
So think in threes and escape the ruts. Happy drafting!
Labels: editing process, first drafts, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, writing craft, writing fiction