author, creative writing, writing

Novel Writing: Finishing the Third Draft

Good morning writers. I hope this week is treating you well.

Recently, my writing has been on a role, so I’m pleased to say I have finished my third draft! When I say finished, what I really mean is, I have loads of notes, some chapters that need to be written from scratch and a long, long way still to go. In one sense, I’m further on than I was before but I’m also a little further behind than I’d hoped to be. Isn’t the writer’s life a funny old thing?!

Anyway, I wanted to share with you my thoughts from finishing the third draft. They may differ completely to your own experiences, or you may not be there yet, but I hope you find the post insightful anyway.

1. The third draft adds layers
Layers, layers, wonderful layers! I spoke in a post upon finishing the second draft about how I’d expected more layers to be added after the first edit. I spoke about how I was wrong and for me, the second draft wasn’t about adding layers at all, but more re-structuring the plot. In this draft, I added layers and for me this was the best bit. I’ve loved writing better descriptions, more hints at back story. Finally! This is what editing is all about…

2. You fix more plot holes
Plot holes everywhere! In this draft I stumbled across so many little things that popped up out of nowhere…any reader would be so confused. The story is in my head, so I know all the intricate details so well that sometimes I forget to explain them….woops! Somehow, I missed loads of these in my second draft, but this time I got most of them…I think!
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3. You’ll make loads of notes
I have pages of notes after this draft. Everything from “change the times of this incident” to “explain this here” and “add that there.” These notes will be the biggest factor in the next edit, which is slightly daunting but exciting too.

4. You win some, you lose some
You will cut some scenes that you love. You will cut some scenes that you hate. You will add some scenes that you love. For me, this draft was a sure case of you win some, you lose some. It can be so hard to cut out scenes, especially scenes you love. Sometimes you have to accept that they simply don’t work, or don’t add to the story. But as you edit you’ll also add writing that you love, and that makes it all worth it.

5. You worry that it’s boring
This has been my major factor in this edit. We suffer writer’s doubt at every stage, and certainly need to be kind to ourselves. For me, I just can’t stop thinking, is this story boring? Does this scene drag? Do I need this? Is it too slow? I’m eager and nervous to get my story to beta readers to find out some outside opinions. Eek! better crack on with more edits then…

6. It’s a huge achievement
Technicalities aside, worries aside, future plans aside; this is a huge achievement. Right here, right now I have reached the end of a second edit, the third draft exists! I have stuck with this story for so long! Remember to always be proud of yourself, every step of the way. From the first draft right up until the last.

How do you feel about your drafts? Your edits? Perhaps you’re not there yet. Do comment below or contact me anytime to share your experiences and writing journey.

Until then,
Keep writing,

15 thoughts on “Novel Writing: Finishing the Third Draft”

  1. I’m on about my tenth draft. And doubt is niggling away at my confidence. That being said, I’ve had some great feedback from a literary agent and each step is progress.
    Well done you for sticking with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I am wondering if that doubt will ever go away, no matter how many drafts in I get!
      Well done you too, and that’s great news about the positive feedback. Hard work paying off! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like reading your posts, because for me, they are spot on and often very similar to what I feel.
    In my last draft, I added some bits here and there, I removed others somewhere else, rewrote some parts to give them more depth. I completely redone one skirmish, because (as my alpha reader told me) “the MC feels too overpowered” in that scene.

    Yet, the biggest decisions coincide with what you said in #4 and #5. Two (maybe three) pairs of skirmishes/battles were, when looked alone, possibly okay (though not that good in retrospect). When looked at together, I realized they were dragging out the story and so I, for each pair, took the parts that added to the story and combined the rest to make it more compact and the impact of them (hopefully) being stronger. It had some “collateral damage” as I had to shuffle some bits in nearby chapters, and was quite some work, but I believe it worth it in the long term.

    Anyway, good luck with your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Thomas, that’s a lovely comment and I’m glad you share similar thoughts and experiences πŸ™‚

      It sounds like you’re doing really well with your edits and making decisions that will enhance your story! Best of luck to you too x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment Chelsea! πŸ™‚ I’m glad if the posts have helped in any way. All writers have their own process, and some do edit as they go with success. But personally, I struggle to push the story forward if I edit as I go, and find it much easier to just write a truly horrible first draft and then shape it later. Best of luck as you continue writing ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on getting to the third draft, M. Unfortunately doubts will plague every draft, but if you remember why you started and the scenes where your writing was brilliant or everything came together, you can push past that little voice telling you it’s boring (which I’m sure it’s not) 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, my lovely ❀ It's always reassuring to have such amazing support, and this online writing community is wonderful. I do feel like I'm really getting somewhere now which is exciting. Thanks as always for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

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