July 5th, 2010

my books--gutg close up

Reader Question: Editing before querying

How many edits did you go through before deciding ‘Give Up The Ghost’ was ready for agent eyes?

If we’re counting an “edit” as a revision big enough for me to create a new file for it (which I usually do for each draft, both because of my habit of rewriting rather than just editing and because I want to have the old stuff in case I realize I took something out that maybe I shouldn’t have), then the answer would be approximately 4 and 1/3.

The 1/3 is the original version of the story, that stalled (as you might guess) a third of the way through. I’d written myself into a corner I didn’t like, and I couldn’t figure out what to do instead. So the story sat for about nine months percolating in my head.

Then I tried again, and made it through the whole first draft. Woohoo! :) As usual, I knew there were plenty of problems with the rough draft, so I rewrote it without showing it to anyone, fixing the things I knew needed fixing. I sent that second draft to my crit partners, who pointed out all the things I hadn’t realized needed fixing. I did another rewrite. Then I printed out that third draft and marked it up with red pen (I find it hard to do line-edits on a computer screen). The draft after line-editing (fourth) is the one I sent to agents.

And that’s pretty standard process for me, in terms of when I think a book is ready for professional eyes, though it does vary a bit from book to book.

Originally published at Megan Crewe - another world, not quite ours. You can comment here or there.