It depends on what I’m writing. I draft at least three copies of each novel. Short stories I tend to write to screen, edit on screen, then print it out and do a final edit on paper before putting in the amendments and sending the item. I tend to treat the on paper edit as the final one. The important thing to remember is there is no magic number here. Some authors will edit as they go so don’t need to redraft. Others will only redraft once. You need to find what works for you.
What is your favourite stage of writing?
I enjoy all stages though I admit there is always a sense of relief once the first draft is prepared. I know I’ve got something to work with then. I enjoy editing and “feeling” my story become tighter, stronger. But it’s also nice to print out the final version! Having said that be aware once you get your MSS out there, and assuming you’re lucky enough to be accepted by agent or publisher (or ideally both!), there’ll be more work to do on your precious script. I can’t think of any publishing house that doesn’t’ want changes somewhere!
What is the best advice you can give a new writer?
Persist. Accept you will get rejections. It really is nothing personal. Take out a subscription to Writers’ News/Writing Magazine. Not only do you receive market advice, they run competitions which can give you good experience in (a) writing to a deadline and (b) writing to a word count (1500 to 1700). Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from the Society of Authors if offered a publishing contract. Don’t be taken in by vanity publishers. Rather than give away your rights, consider self publishing and keeping those rights to sell for yourself later, hopefully. Self publishers have been known to be taken on by the mainstream publishers.
What is the best advice you can give a new writer? If you can join a group like the Romantic Writers Association or the Crime Writers who have schemes to encourage new talent, do so. Know what you are selling to a publisher (particularly important for novels). Try to get an agent (I’ m still trying!). Visit the writing and editing websites and blogs. You’re bound to find useful tips and hints. I’ve found loads. Edit, edit, edit. When you can get feedback do so and be prepared to listen to good advice. It’s a question of weighing up for yourself whether you agree or not. Those behind critiques are not out to get you, honestly, but are genuinely trying to help. Make your work as good as you can make it before sending it anywhere.