Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Umpteen Plus One

I’m on the second draft of my latest book, by which I mean I’m rewriting the first draft in response to my editor’s comments. Actually the first draft wasn’t the first draft at all; it was the umpteenth. So this is the umpteenth plus one. All of the earlier drafts were imposed upon me by myself, of course. But that doesn't make it any easier.

People are sometimes surprised when I tell them how many times a professional writer has to redraft a manuscript to get it to a publishable standard. ‘But how do you know when it’s finally finished?’ they ask.

My answer is what I call the potential homicide test. If there's a serious likelihood that the next time an editor asks you to change a sentence you may beat them to death with their own keyboard, then the manuscript is finished

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I haven’t got to that point yet.

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