writers / writing

#IWSG Time Between First and Second Draft

This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s question — For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Actually, I don’t shelve it at all. I want to edit while the characters and details are fresh in mind. I don’t want to forget how pieces tie together. It does take me roughly a year to write each book, from draft to publication, so there is all that time to think things over.

This is a great question. I’m eager to see what other people say.

A special note: If you’re looking for a marketing opportunity for your book, consider joining the book launch for my upcoming prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature. While you share my news with your readers, I’ll share a link to your blog and your latest book with mine, on my blog. 

Official signups are June 7th here on my blog (here) or by clicking the link. Why sign up early? I have a small selection of guest posts you can choose to publish on your blog. Only one person per post. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!

#iwsg #amwriting


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Summer 2021.

93 thoughts on “#IWSG Time Between First and Second Draft

  1. I really like this topic, Jacqui. I haven’t written a book yet but I do pieces of writing for my blog and elsewhere where a first and subsequent drafts are necessary. For me it depends. If I found myself enjoying writing the first draft and the words and thoughts flow, I like to jump right in to the next draft. If I had a hard time with the first draft, I might take some time to come back again and hoping to see it with fresh eyes. I enjoyed reading what others had to say on this topic too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that approach, Mabel. I realize I do a version of that. I edit the entire thing, get frustrated with all the ‘issues’, move to editing phrases (using Autocrit), and then return to the whole story. It works well, doesn’t it? It’s interesting reading everyone’s protocols on editing.


  2. I haven’t written a new novel for a long time, so I don’t know how long it would take me now. What I write mostly are short stories and novellas. I like the shorter format and they take less time from start to finish. Definitely less than a year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My first book, the one I’m currently working on, has taken years to write, so I’ve had plenty of time to think about it without having to go through the trouble of shelving it. I’ll celebrate the day I write so quickly I have to force myself to shelve a book for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are so amazing, Jacqui! One book a year. Phew. I take my hat off to your dedication, persistence, and focus. I happily give you a shout-out for Laws of Nature in my monthly writing update after your release, which looks like it might be the first Wednesday of August. I’ll write this down right now! Happy weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • After reading all of your marketing, I suspect I should do more of that. You my friend are amazing. And most of your spots are new–you probably had to seek them out. Hats off to you. I’ll mark you down for August 4th and send a packet as soon as they’re ready. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great! Thanks.

        Here’s the thing: if you focus on promoting like I’m doing, there is no time for writing. And, honestly, I think any author’s time is better spent writing, because the more books you have, the better promo options you can create. If I were you, maybe I’d put half an hour aside two or three times a week to focus on promo and choose wisely where to direct your energy. Or, you can save the promo for a chunk of time after each release, like you’ve been doing. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. На ср, 2.06.2021 г., 10:50 AM WordDreams… написа:

    > Jacqui Murray posted: ” This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers > Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to > join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that > are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every” >

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I need at least one month break, otherwise I can’t see that it doesn’t write exactly what my brain sees there. (Especially if i repeat a word 2-3 times in a paragraph, or in subsequent phrases). During the break I can work at other literary endeavours.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think it’s great if you can revise your story well only a couple days after writing the first draft. I have to give a little time for myself to rest because I’m tired out by the time I finish writing the first draft and I wouldn’t see the more subtle errors if I tried revising it too soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I understand the importance of taking breaks, but that should happen more when one feels burned out. It’s not like I have a ton of experience to answer this, but I get excited when I get to the second draft. That’s a time to ride the wave.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Shelve between the first and second draft?? Never. OMG, that would be a disaster for me. I’d forget the story. I’m like you, Jacqui. I need to get right back into it while the details are fresh. I shelve later, when I “think” its done.

    And, as always, I’m happy to help with your launch. I have a couple of “off the grid” weeks coming up, but I’ll check out your dates, and it necessary do it when I get back. With a review. I’m also launching a book and couldn’t have picked a dumber time. Lol. As always, your organizational skills astonish me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congrats on the upcoming release!

    My revision process is completely dependent upon the project, and whether there is a deadline involved. A deadline always brings out the responsible adult in me. No deadline means my inner child is completely unsupervised.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It was interesting to see the answers to this month’s question. I was thinking I was the only one that didn’t set mine in a drawer to ripen like fine wine:) or molder like cheese. Heh. Okay, minus my monthly hiatuses in between stories;) But it looks like there’re several of us that start working on editing and clean up when we’ve finished the first draft.

    Liked by 1 person

      • HI Jacqui, I write my book in entirety and then I send it in a good form to the developmental editor. She goes through it carefully and looks for areas where I could develop my story better or where I haven’t closed out a thread properly and makes all sorts of other great suggestions. For example, Esther looked at A Ghost and His Gold when it was a 30,000 word novella. She came back and said I needed to develop Michelle (the modern MC’s) role more and bring her into the story earlier. She also suggested I expand on the war elements. I did this and it resulted in a whole additional plot line with Michelle and her husband, Tom, and the inclusion of why Estell, whose role in the story I expanded greatly, hated Tom. My book grew from 30,000 words to 115,000 words due to Esther’s amazing advice. She then relooked at it and helped me close out the Ouija board thread which I hadn’t expanded enough or closed off on and also suggested I convert Robert’s parts of the book to a diary format [which I love]. She also helps me get rid of info dumping and my own opinions if they are to prominent. I also changed Estelle’s part in the end and made her much more ferocious which better suited her character up to that point. Developmental editing with a good editor is so helpful. Of course, like all things in life, it is also a question of how much effort you put in to amending for the advice received. I do a lot of rewriting and changing, but in the end, I have been happy with my books. Charli Mills developmentally edited While the Bombs Fell and suggested the historical timeline that ran parallel to my mom’s own life events. I turned the order of that book around completely after receiving her excellent advice and it made such a big difference.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. Me too. They say “set it aside for six weeks” or something like that, but in my case, it takes me so long to write the first draft, a little at a time, that in the case of this third book I’m working on, I feel as if I can indeed start reading it over with fresh eyes. Plus, I want to get the read-over/initial edit step done so I can get it to beta readers within the next month, before the summer gets crazy and I don’t have time to do anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t usually have the time to let a book sit, so I get to work on revisions immediately. Because I edit as I go, they don’t usually take long, so that’s a plus. The fact that I’m sometimes working on more than one project and usually have worked on several client edits as I was drafting helps keep the details of my story kind of distant to me, so it’s almost like looking at it with fresh eyes by the time I’m ready to review it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am not writer enough to have a process yet. After my first two books got published the traditional way, I have not had much success with three manuscripts after that. They are in cold storage currently. Will bring them out at some point and rework or start afresh.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I haven’t ever tackled anything as lengthy as you. Sometimes I put my picture book manuscripts away for months.Too often, when I come back to them, I think, ‘What was I thinking?’ 😂

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I edit my work as I go, so there isn’t a great deal of clean up at the end. Even then, I go back over it again (usually immediately) and again (some time later). Like you, it takes me close to a year (and sometimes longer) to get to that finish line!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Hi Jacqui – I know you keep a tight rein on your books, story and characters … so can quite understand what you’re saying. Good luck with the launch – I’ll be hovering … take care and all the best – Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I wrote a couple of educational booklets. Each one took me a year to complete from draft to publication. I started in 2016 and I start to earn money. The fruit has to ripen. Creative processes take time.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Good morning, dear Jacqui,
    I always do the editing immediately after I have written the text – like you do. I even sometimes did it while I am still writing on the end of my text. I nearly always did it together with my editor. I needed another preferably very critical person who went through the text with me.
    Wishing you all the best
    Klausbernd 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

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