Jefferey Deaver’s Novel Editing Process


Jefferey Deaver shares his extensive revision process

There’s a Youtube video circulating from Jefferey Deaver, in which he explains his writing process.  He may spend months on concept and write an almost 200-page outline.  Even after all that work, he performs thirty to forty rewrites on his finished manuscript.

Watch me run. 


A 182-page outline?  30-40 rewrites?  My count is much less than that, but not anemic, either.  I use Story Magic (thank you for the 1,000th time, Laura Baker and Robin Perini and my dear fellow MagicMakers), so by suffering brain damage at that level, it helps avoid many of the rewrites. 

 I revise as I receive my chapter critiques from my CPs, too. This is less overwhelming to me because I’m looking at it from a scene-by-scene lens instead of a whole-book lens, and weaknesses early in the book can be corrected, wrong paths taken adjusted, etc. so the whole book isn’t so overwhelming. 

 But that’s just me.  Every writer must develop the process that works best for them, the one that keeps them enthusiastic about the story and determined to write the best story they can. 

 Thanks to my fellow RMFW writer, Peg Brantley, for sharing this.  I applaud Jeffrey Deaver for his success, and his willingness to share his process with us.  He makes an excellent point about airplanes and quality assurance, and how we should build our stories with the same care as an airplane is built. 

Made to soar. Wow.  I know, I know, I haven’t had anywhere near his success, so I’ll listen to him, even though it gives me nightmares.  Maybe I’ll even add another two or three whole-book re-writes to my process.  

 How many rewrites do you devote to your WIP before you start marketing it?  I’d love to hear from you.


1 Comment

Filed under The Writing Life, Writing Craft

One response to “Jefferey Deaver’s Novel Editing Process

  1. Hi Janet — I do anywhere from five to 10 rewrites, and several more passes for self-editing chores. But when I read the Deaver method, I felt a wave of nausea. At that pace, and with my procrastination habit, it would take the rest of my life to write one more novel. 🙂

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