Novel Writing Questions No. 8: How many redrafts are enough redrafts?

I’ve just finished looking over another redraft of my novel. I’m on the fourth redraft at the moment and I’m curious to know: when does redrafting stop being redrafting and start being nitpicking/over-perfectionism/denial-that-the-book-just-isn’t-good?

I’ve heard stories of writers rewriting a story as many as nine times before they’re satisfied but I’d like to hear how many you novel writers out here do? Or, think is a suitable number before realising that this novel can’t be fixed and you should work on a new one?

(By the way, I’ve decided to post on this website fortnightly, so I’m alternating new posts on As the CROWS feast and this blog every Sunday)

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4 thoughts on “Novel Writing Questions No. 8: How many redrafts are enough redrafts?

    1. I do think more than 10 is excessive, unless you’re just making last-minute tweaks. I suppose it’s hard on the first novel to know when to leave it and just send it out to publishers as it is.

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  1. “Until a writer either retires or dies, the work is not finished; it can always use another polish and a few more revisions.” Stephen King

    Every short story I’ve written has taken an “uncountable” number of revisions. Even years later, I might go back and make a small adjustment to it, if I feel inspired.

    “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci

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    1. You make an excellent point and some excellent quotes. The trouble with writing novels is, because they take longer, you have more time to think about all the things you could do better and you’re constantly wanting to go back and make big changes. At least, that’s what I’m finding troublesome at the moment.

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