Home » Writing Process » The Life Cycle of a Manuscript

The Life Cycle of a Manuscript

The Life Cycle of a Manuscript“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.” ~Winston Churchill

We start out with a shiny idea and develop that idea into a plot with characters.

The shiny idea becomes a draft in progress. We love it at first, resent it at some point, but we get it done. It then becomes the shiny new draft.

We play with the shiny new draft, fixing plot holes, adding description, tightening our dialog until it becomes the shiny completed draft.

Take a moment to enjoy this feeling because you only get it once in the lifecycle of each book. Be proud.

The shiny completed draft goes to the alpha reader (or in some case beta readers) for comments and feedback. That feedback, if it is honest, turns the shiny completed draft into a sullied, tattered shyte draft.

This is normal. Expect it. The sooner you move from “I write crap” to “let’s get busy revising,” the better you’ll sleep.

The shyte draft goes through changes. The stakes are defined (or raised). The duplicate words get changed. The character’s motivation gets clarified, and much more. It metamorphoses into the Final Draft.

And then it goes to the copy editor. And what we thought was a final draft becomes just another draft. We make the changes, send it back and forth until it’s polished and complete. This becomes the Novel.

And the novel is released into the world with a feeling that’s almost as good (and often better) than the feeling we had holding our shiny new draft, because the shiny new draft is but a shadow of what our words have become.

While our novel finds its readers, we get another shiny idea and repeat it all with a new project that will one day become the new novel.

And the cycle continues.

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9 thoughts on “The Life Cycle of a Manuscript

  1. A very apt description, Robyn. The only thing I would add is that for some it goes from draft-in-progress to new novel in MONTHS, while it takes the rest of us sometimes, YEARS to make that happen.

  2. Pingback: Just Keep Editing…Just Keep Editing | Dana Leipold

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