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Stephen King. Photo:: Pinguino K

Stephen King. Photo:: Pinguino K

Your First Draft Is Only The End Of Step One

Stephen King agrees that the completion of a first draft—especially the first draft of a long piece of writing such as a novel—certainly is deserving of a celebration. But in his craft book, On Writing, he cautions that a first draft is never a final draft. King says that before a writer sends off a story for possible publication, he or she should always do at least one more draft to iron out the story’s inevitable imperfections.

Many writers do a dozen or more drafts of each story they write. King advises doing at least two or three drafts of everything. He himself generally goes through two drafts and a final polishing which is sometimes almost as thorough as a complete third draft.

The American horror master says it’s also important to give yourself some time away from your story before attempting revision. For a novel, he recommends at least six weeks of separation from your piece; a short story can be revisited after a shorter period of time. In any case, he says the break will allow you to step back from the trees and get a look at the forest.

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