3, The Colony (2): Strife, I adopted the same approach as for
book 2. I
constructed a plan for all of the chapters in a spreadsheet together
with a list of characters and their characteristics updated from the
previous book for the changed time period.
The first draft generated the main story in 45,000 words including a
prologue to pick up from the first story in the series. The second
draft further developed the plot and characters and added an epilogue
in another 15,000 words. This draft included raising a minor character
to a major character to help develop the plot. The third draft
concentrated on improving the descriptions of the weather, the general
environment of the action and the characters' clothing, adding another
The chapters were put together in a word processor. Two more
read-throughs for spellchecking and fine tuning finished it off. Fine
tuning involved a final look for improvements in the choice of words
(thesaurus time) and correcting stylistic mistakes (copy editing). I
know I have a tendency to put phrases in the wrong place in a sentence
so I look out for these. I noticed that I was not using characters
names frequently enough, using he/she too often after first giving the
These sorts of stylistic errors can be picked up by a copy editor. If
you publish through a normal publisher they will provide this service.
For book 2 this was the case for me. One problem identified was
of the word 'this' for example. If you are self publishing you can
still pay for a copy editing service (see Publishing) or you could
ask a friend to read it for this purpose.
I was pleased that this story was completed in three drafts. This felt
optimum for me and subsequently I have always used three drafts. The
previous story with four drafts felt a bit laboured
and I would not want to go down to two drafts since that would reduce
opportunities for improving the story.