'A fourth ending??'

My mate Mr Stanley asked me at the weekend how many drafts there would be on my first novel. Bloody good question, and my answer, ‘I have absolutely no idea’, was probably not what he was expecting.
I finished the second draft on Friday, April 15th. Some chapters survived from the first draft with just minor edits, but I made major changes to the central story and altered one character completely. This resulted in the last quarter of the book being a complete re-write with very little remaining intact. (I am actually now on my fourth ending, the earlier ones all disappointing me in how they turned out. Hopefully this one’s the one.)
I will embark on a third draft in a few weeks. Although I have had a few ideas to shake up the opening chapters, I’m looking to resist the temptation of any major rewrites now - this draft will be improving the way in which I’m telling the story, not the story itself.
After that I will send it to a few friends who have volunteered as ‘early readers’ and get their feedback. That will lead to a fourth draft, hopefully not a massive piece of work on my part unless I’ve really been deluding myself, and then it will be available as an e-Book and submitted to Agents.
Unless I feel the need for a fifth draft, that is...

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