Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Winners and a Question

by Stephanie Black

A big thank you to everyone who submitted working title suggestions for my work-in-progress. Whether the titles were serious or funny, I appreciate all the ideas. Using a handy-dandy number generator, I picked a random winner from the title submitters. And the winner is . . .

L.T. Elliot

L.T., send me an e-mail at, give me your snail mail address, and let me know which of my books you would like.

Some of the title suggestions would make awesome lines of dialogue. I can just see Abigail, hands on hips, glaring at a trembling Derek and asking, “Brother, What Didst Thou Do? Do you really Believe in this Method of Fooling the Family?” (thanks, Karlene and Charlie!) And when the villain finally gets his comeuppance (he would have gotten away with it, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids) somebody’s gotta say, “Buddy, you should have known this was coming. Time Wounds All Heels.” Ha ha! (Thanks, Jordan). And at some point, somebody needs to call Abigail an “Endearingly Angelic Menace” (thanks, Melanie Goldmund!).

So I went through the list of suggestions a bunch of times, and finally ended up deciding to go with Cold as Ice, which, wasn’t, strictly speaking, on the list, though if I hurried I could add it there. But thank you for all the ideas, help, inspiration, and entertainment. Since I didn’t end up using one of the suggested working titles, I did another random drawing for book #2. And the winner is . . .

Jordan McCollum

Jordan, let me know which book you’d like.

Thank you again to everyone who took the time to come up with title suggestions for me. I really appreciate it.

I finished the read-through of the manuscript and give it a rousing “okay,” which translates to mean “you’ve got a lot of work to do, sister.” I still can’t figure out how some authors can write good books with only minimal revision to the original manuscript. It must be some kind of superpower, like being able to match all the socks in your laundry basket or parallel park. For this manuscript, it's going to be three drafts before I'm even ready to send it to test readers, and another draft to fix the problems they point out. I'd love to do one more polishing draft after that, but I have this funny feeling I'm going to be squashed tight against the time when I said I'd send it in.

So here’s my question for all you writers out there, published or unpublished. Approximately how many drafts does it take you before you have a manuscript ready to submit?


At 9/09/2009 3:29 PM, Anonymous Jordan McCollum said...

Woohoo! I'll be emailing you.

So what *did* you use for the working title? (My books get named with the hero/heroine until after the first draft. And then three or four drafts later, I change it to something way better.)

So far, I'm on about draft eleventeen.

At 9/09/2009 4:16 PM, Blogger Tamara Hart Heiner said...

More drafts than you want to know.

First is the rough draft. Then I fix it up. Then I fix it again. Then I sent it out to readers. Then I fix it again and again and again. Send to readers and fix again. Repeat as long as necessary.

Book one got done in 20 something drafts. Book two is on draft 11. Book 3 is on draft one. I'll let you know how many drafts this one takes. I think I've got a better method now.

At 9/09/2009 4:28 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

Oh. My. Gosh.


Email forthcoming!

At 9/09/2009 4:54 PM, Blogger Melanie J said...

I'm at a minimum of five for each so far. Who knows how high that will climb when my editor gets back to me, though. Yikes.

At 9/09/2009 5:01 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

That's a tough question to answer for me because I don't have drafts like normal people. Some chapters go through tons of revisions, while others don't. Some entire sections will be massively revamped, and then others will be submitted close to how they started out. It's weird. So some parts of a book could end up with 20 drafts, while others might have only 3.

At 9/09/2009 5:17 PM, Anonymous Jordan McCollum said...

Annette—you had me scared for a minute there, thinking you had whole chapters that were perfect on the first draft! Three is so much more reasonable ;) .

At 9/09/2009 5:42 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

I'm sort of all over the place. With my first book I remember one huge revision of the last third, but a lot of it went to the publisher in its original form. (I'm not saying that's a good thing.)

I honestly can't remember much of the writing process for my second book. It was kinda quick.

My third was fourteen drafts.

Lately, the system I'm using is harder to track. I won't really save my documents as Draft One, Draft Two, etc. I'll just write and revise kind of at the same time, usually in the same document. In other words, I don't have anywhere an old draft of the manuscripts--it's all just the same Word file that I keep fiddling with.

At 9/09/2009 9:11 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

My writing style is a lot like Annette's. Some times a chapter or just a scene gets chewed over dozens of times and some only take a couple of quick run throughs and they're fine. And like Rob, I don't have any way of tracking how many drafts I do; I don't keep any but the one I submit.

At 9/10/2009 12:22 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Thanks for the comments! It's interesting to see how other writers work.

Jordan, regarding your question, for my first couple of drafts, I have no working title--it's just novel3 or novel5 or whatever. I like the idea of using the main character's name!

My first novel took so many drafts that I lost count.


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