How Many Drafts does your Script Actually Need?
Updated: Apr 27
When you’re working on your script, you’ll start to understand the difference between rushing a script and over-analyzing a script. Thus, the reason why people ask how many drafts your script should actually need.
All of these factors depend on the writer, their story, and what they hope to accomplish. Let’s dive a little deeper into exactly how many drafts your script will need.
The Number of Drafts
As noted, the number of drafts you need depends on how you are as a writer before anything. Meaning if you make a lot of grammatical errors or you’re not too familiar with screenwriting, then you’re going to need a lot of drafts.
However, if you’re a more experienced writer then you might not need as many drafts as less experienced writers might. Either way, focus on getting your script done then go back and start to edit.
Look at every scene and question if it advances your story, has conflict, and has a point to it. If all of these points aren’t met, then you should go back and make sure they’re met.
Otherwise, you’ll have a boring story that feels empty and pointless.
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A lot of writers will want to rush their script just for the sake of getting done. Then the only thing they do afterward is editing any grammatical errors they might find. The truth is, editing is more than just fixing grammatical mistakes. You need to analyze every part of your story so that it’s in the best shape it can be in.
You don’t want to necessarily over-edit or anything like that, but you want to make sure your script works. Meaning you have a good story, good characters, in proper screenplay format, and flows nicely. If you just want to rush and get it done, you’ll go nowhere with your script.
The complete opposite of under-editing is over-editing. Over-editing means you spend way too much time analyzing everything in your script to the point you only hurt your script. You don’t have to change the story or a character every single week.
Take your editing slowly and you’ll soon start to realize how you can properly edit your script. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a product that is completely different from your original vision. Something you should always avoid.
In simple terms, the amount of drafts you need for a script is all up to you. The average rule of thumb is to have 3 to 5 drafts of a screenplay before you start submitting it.
If it gets any interest you’ll get notes and will have to create another 3 or so drafts. However, keep in mind that editing one scene is technically an entirely new draft.