The Third Draft is an Empty Tube of Toothpaste!

I finished the dreaded rough draft of my romantic comedy November 8th. I enjoyed writing the second draft, even going all poetic about it and blogging with sentences like, “I’m dancing with my characters or something like that. Yeah, yeah, yeah … all free flowing toothpaste.

When I finished the second draft on December 6th, I had 51,437 words. If you’ve read my stuff, you know that is pretty much it for me. My longest book Jaclyn’s Ghost (BTW the eBook is free today on Amazon) is around 52,000. But I know in the publishing world this is considered a novella .

Anyway, by the third draft, I’m usually jotting down little notes and just checking for words I’m obsessed with (“Just” being one of them). And trying to cut down my sentences that start with ‘and’ and ‘but.’ But no! Right when I was finishing the second draft, I decided I really, really wanted/needed more words. But like I said, the problem was, writing the story part was finished. I had a beginning, middle, and The End!

What started out as just trying to add more words has turned into really appreciating the term ‘fleshing out your characters.’ Right now I’m at 57,000 words, and in these last 5,000 I’ve learned so much more about my characters’ personalities and especially their motivations. I’ve even uncovered a very interesting plot point that I would have completely let slip by me.

However, like the title of this post suggest, it’s like trying to get more toothpaste out of an obviously empty tube. You’ve been there, right? You twist, turn, and squeeze that sucker anyway – until finally a tiny amount comes to the surface.

That’s what writing this third draft feels like to me. It’s hard – so much so that the other day I was wondering why in the world I wanted to be a writer. But I’m also in awe of this craft where I can learn something new with every book I write. If there are more books, this third toothpaste squeezing draft will be part of the process.

Blogging as I write my book, here are the discovered names/methods for each draft:

1st draft: Heavy Metal

2nd draft: Country Music

3rd draft:  Empty Tube of Toothpaste

Until the 4th draft …

Love and Laughter,


1 Comment


    1. Two Years of my Writing Journey | dorlanavann

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