When Do You Send A Novel To Your Editor?

Here’s a quick look at my drafting process: Draft one, hopefully no one ever sees. I’m a momentum writer. A lot of writers are like this. I can’t stop in the middle and revise unless something is really broken. If there’s something I want to change, I just keep going and try it out for the next chapter. So if I decide I needed another character here, I will just write them in and everyone will act like they’ve always been there. I’ll try it out for a chapter. If it works, I’ll keep going that way, and if it doesn’t, I’ll cut them out and try something different. So first drafts can be really weird. “Am I supposed to know this person everyone else knows? Have I forgotten who this was?” And things like that. Characters just vanish, and I’ll leave out the foreshadowing—foreshadowing is really easy to add in later. Things like this. Second draft is to fix all of that stuff. I can sometimes send that off, but what I really like to send off is the third draft, which is the first polished. Where for the first time I try to make it pretty, or at least not cringe-worthy. So that’s what I send to an editor. That’s also what I send to alpha readers, which is my writing group, my agent, my friends and family and things like that. Once that gets back, I do a bunch of revisions until it’s good, and then we get beta readers, which are usually community beta readers. If you want to be a beta reader, I’m not the person to convince, Peter is. He’s my editorial assistant. He’s the one who picks the betas, and they do a bunch of reads, and I do a bunch of drafts based on what they say, and then I go to proofreaders.

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