A. M. Macdonald

Author and Geek Culture Emissary. Speaking the word of nerd.

Time for the Sharpie Draft


There comes a time when you must print your work and read it page by page, on paper, wielding a sharpie and stowing indecision. It’s time to carve this baby up, and get ready for the final edits with JD Book Services in late July (that won’t stop be from participating in #SFFPIT tomorrow).

First draft done!


There is no other feeling like finishing a first draft. When I finished the first draft of Dybsy back in December 2016, my elation couldn’t be contained, even during the next 4 months of savage editing.

Five minutes ago I finished the first draft of Remember the Dawn, which came in at 117,477 words over 72 scenes. If you follow me at all, you already know the book is a fantasy (epic?) involving starlight magic and magic resistant peacekeepers. I’m sure my first rounds of edits will flesh out many scenes, and likely add a few more. I foresee a final vomit draft word count approaching 130,000, which is right at the high end of the accepted fantasy word length for a debut author (I don’t think self-publishing *counts* for traditional publishers). The word count will reduce over the subsequent rounds of editing.

While browsing Reddit I came across this post: https://fictionary.co/seven-drafts-editor-allison-k-williams/. I wish I’d had this sort of information and guidance when working on Dybsy, because it seems an incredibly reasonable and useful approach. I am going to employ this process as I edit Remember the Dawn. After the final step of copyediting, I’ll start querying. There’s an open call right now with DAW, a highly prolific SFF publishes, for unagented manuscripts. I want to try to get a final draft ready to submit there.