The 10 Draft Phases

This is such a cool way to keep track of your drafting process and progress. I always used to get confused about what drafts I should be doing before submitting my book to a professional editor.



Draft 0: The Draft Before Your First Draft

This is where you are deciding if this is the right story. It's the draft before you write it. You can also think of this as your outline or story beats. If you do the 15 story beats from the Save The Cat! method or something like Snowflake Method, that would be something great to do during this phase.



Draft 1: Tell Yourself The Story

Write your story! Remember it doesn't need to be perfect. Finish it.


Draft 2: It's Reading Time

Print the manuscript and make story notes. Some leave them in the margins but others put in a separate notebook. During this phase, don't edit. Sometimes it's too tempting to edit when you leave notes in the margins. So I recommend writing notes in a notebook. Once you've finished your read through you can take the notes and edit your manuscript from your notes.

Draft 3: Be A Story Medic

Fill in your gaps, look for scenes that might be missing, are there plot holes? Check your POV and pacing?


Draft 4: Hello Character, Do I Know You?

Look at your characters. Review all of them. Look at their motivation, the arcs, and also be sure to look at their thought processes. Another thing I recommend when you are in this stage is to read through Lisa Cron's book Story Genius. It really is helpful for getting your characters figured out. This step might take a little while.


Draft 5: Get Rid Of Things That Don't Fit

This is where you'll look at everything in your story under a magnify glass to make sure it all fits in your story. Put your characters, settings, and scenes on trial. Things to look at: characters, combining characters, info dumps, long paragraphs, run-on sentences. Does everything fit?


Draft 6: Time To Look At Your Sentences

Time to go through your sentences. This is a sentence edit or line edit. Go through each sentence and paragraph. Pay attention to your language, tenses, POV, voice, and also your story structure.Look out for filter words. Ton? Check out the word choices. There might be stronger words that work better. Are there repetitive words?


Draft 7: Share Your Baby

It's time to share your book with friends. Create a list of questions to get feedback from your friends, betas, and critique partners.


Draft 8: Getting Feedback

Take your feedback and go back over your manuscript with fresh eyes and make changes.


Draft 9: Use An Editing Fine-Tooth Comb

Go through your manuscript and look for capitalization mistakes, spelling mistakes, commas, and make sure you use the correct word.


Draft 10: DONE and Reread

Go over your book a last time and fix last-minute things.


Now what? After going through all 10 draft phases it's a great time to get a professional editor. And it's also a good time to decide whether you are going to indie publish or trad publish.


Get Your Own Printable 10 Step Draft Phase Worksheet



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