The 5 Biggest Final Draft Myths
Just as with first drafts, there are a host of myths that perpetually follow final drafts. Here are the five biggest myths of final drafts.
If you haven’t read my post, The 5 Biggest First Draft Myths, you can read it here.
Final Drafts are Final
Probably the most common and most unintentionally adopted myth is that a final draft is, in fact, a final draft.
Writing poorly is easy. Writing well is hard. Writing well for 300+ pages is down right diagnosable!
Beware the pull of the final draft. Because writing a complex story is a difficult process, you will likely be tempted to stop early, before your story is fully formed.
This is almost always a mistake. Keep at it. When you think you are done, go 3 more drafts. Then 3 more.
Disclaimer: perfection is unrealistic, better left to dieties; I have never read a perfect book and I doubt there is one. At some point, you are no longer perfecting your prose but prolonging your fear.
Final Drafts are Foolproof
Unless your mother is JK Rowling, there are probably no silver publishing bullets. There are few foolproof final drafts that soar to bestseller status based solely on the talent of the author.
Success, especially long term success, as an author relies on a matrix of talent, support and marketing savvy, among other things like hard work, copious luck and regular sacrifices to the typewriter gods.
Keep writing anyway. There will always be room in the literary universe for skilled wordsmiths.
Final Drafts are Friends
If you want an almost foolproof strategy for knowing if your final draft is really final, check your relationship status with your work.
Here’s a quick Cheatsheet:
- BFFs- you are on your first draft
- Friends – You have 3-10 more drafts to go
- Casual Acquaintance – getting closer
- Strangers- now we’re talking!
- Irritation – almost there
- Mortal enemies – you’re done!
For most authors, by the time they reach the final draft, they don’t even want to read the garbage. Oh it’s good. Close to perfect, but if they have to look at those words again, they’ll stab thier eyes out with Stephen King’s pencil.
Final Drafts are Fulcrums
This myth shows up in exaggerated expectations. We think this book is the ONE, the book that will catapult us to full time, maybe even the bestseller list. Heck, Kanye will tweet YOU begging for money. Trump will change his name. Your grandchildren’s grandchildren will have portraits of you on the wall.
Certainly, these are all possibilities, even ideals for which to aim, but expecting miracles is (usually) not a winning gameplan.
Write anyway. Do your best. Make a plan and follow through. Be excellent in everything. Learn. Grow. Emulate.
Your time will come.
Final Drafts are Finish Lines
They ARE a kind of finish line, in the same way that marriage and childbirth are finish lines.
In a strange way, final drafts are both finish lines and starting gates, marking both end and beginning, genesis and exodus.
You may be finished with the book, but likely not finished with the activity of submitting and publishing and selling and…
Completing a final draft is reason for lively celebration not lethargic hibernation.
You have arrived, but not at the end, rather the beginning of a new phase, process and cycle.
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One last thing…