Writing Tips

Writing Tip: The 3-Draft Rule

Today, I’m going to offer you some advice about how many drafts you should have before you consider sending out your full manuscript to a publishing company.

I consider the magic number to be 3: Three full-length drafts and let me tell you why.

Draft One: Getting it Down

Your very first draft should be focused on just getting your writing out of your head and down on paper. In this draft, I encourage you to just write. Do not focus on getting it perfect, or saying everything you need to say.

Create the bones of your manuscript.

Or, in other words, consider it the road map for the rest of your drafts. This first draft is all about getting your words on paper and it will be messy, it will be disorganized, it will not be perfect. And guess what, it shouldn’t be. However, this is very important: this is NOT an outline. This first draft should be a whole and complete draft with plot lines and developed characters. When I say this is the bones of your manuscript, you should still include the entire skeleton.

Draft Two: Buffing it Out

After “completing” your first draft (meaning that the bones of your manuscript are present and arranged), it is time to start adding the “meat” (the muscles, sinews, and veins, etc.). Draft Two can be accomplished on your own or with a friend or writing colleague. I personally believe that it is beneficial to have outside opinion for this draft. What I do, is I send my Draft One to friends and receive BETA reader comments. What needs flushing out? What drags? What doesn’t make sense, etc.? Once I have their comments, I comb back through my first draft and begin addressing both their comments and add in my own.

As I am going through, thinking about their comments and my own, I REWRITE (yes you heard me), REWRITE the entire manuscript. I open up a new blank screen next to my first draft and I RETYPE everything. (Next week I’ll be sharing a blog post as to why I REWRITE instead of Editing). After this, you should have a completed, flushed out draft, but you’re not done yet.

Draft Three: Cleaning it Up

Once you have completed crafting your narrative (it has bones, and muscle, and skin), it’s time to make it pretty! If hardcore editing is not your thing, ask for outside help whether that means the family member who is an English major or paying for grammar edits. Trust me, nothing lowers the quality of a good book faster than bad grammar. This is your one chance to impress a publishing company, so spend some time (and maybe *some* money) improving your manuscript until it shines.


Well, there you have it: my three-draft rule!

What do you think? Is three drafts too many or too little? Be sure to comment below!

***Extra Tip: It is okay to have some time take place between Draft One and Draft Two, distance can be a good thing for your own writing! It can give you perspective.


Happy Writing Everyone!


© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

23 thoughts on “Writing Tip: The 3-Draft Rule”

  1. Great tips. In fact, I like the idea of starting on a blank page for the Draft 2. With the added notes from other readers, mixed in with your own fresh ideas. The fluidity of the paper changes and the masterpiece truly takes shape.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I just kind of came up with my own system. And this is for writing novels, not necessarily blogs or whatnot. So I usually write my very first rough draft of a new project by writing the major scenes I know are going to be present. It gives me a starting point. My next step is to read back through those scenes in order and weave them together with “less major” action. Then I do another read through to tweak anything that doesn’t flow well. After that there’s usually a few more read throughs. It doesn’t sound like much but it works for me pretty well.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I agree!
            I didn’t always write that way. I used to plow through beginning to end. But I would get into a slump in the slower parts. The first year I participated in NaNoWriMo, I tried this method because I needed to write a lot in a short amount of time. I figured I would write more if I wrote the exciting stuff first. And it worked for me. I got so much more work done and didn’t get burnt out. So I’ve kept using this technique and love it.

            Liked by 1 person

          1. I think we are all confused. I don’t understand the purpose of the site either. I found another site that posted a web analysis for tygpress and found they indexed 412,000 pages from google which leads me to believe this is how they access our information. So, I released a post from Firefox instead of Google and it hasn’t appeared on their site yet. I’ll see how it goes tomorrow when I publish my Monday posts. Here is the link if you want to take a gander – https://tygpress.com.cutestat.com/

            Liked by 1 person

              1. The hoopla has died down. Their site is closed for now! Here is what is currently shown on the site –
                Tygpress.com is temporarily out of service due to technical issues. will be back soon…
                Tygpress.com was created with an intention to create a blog search site , but due to some techical issues, full contents of respective sites were being displayed instead of just excerpts as intended. We thank the complainants for bringing this issue to our notice and We are extremely sorry to the content owners.

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Hah! I’m on my 1001st draft and my MS still needs a ton of work! 😛
    I do recall reading (but don’t remember the source) someone saying that you shouldn’t even consider sending to an agent until you’ve edited your MS 20 times. Could be an exaggeration, but I’m getting on to my 5th or 6th round of editing and rewriting, and still nowhere near done. And when I say edit, I mean rewrite, and you said it. Editing is rewriting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear ya, there can definitely be so many more drafts than just these three, but it always astounds me when someone says they just finished writing their first draft and sent it off to a publisher.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s