The number of drafts to a written work varies, of course, with the schedule and temperament of its author. The Anvil of the Craftsman now stands at 94.4% in third draft—what I count as third draft. It marks the sixth review for the manuscript since it first clattered onto the page in Microsoft Word.
I pour the story out, then review the text, and print a manuscript. My Single Candle Press editress next gives it a run-through, afterward applying her art to hard copy with her editing pen “Old Red.” She gives it a following read-though and returns one chapter at a time for revision. Those edits are addressed, and I review the chapter once more scene-by-scene to assure they deliver the content that I intend.
The final review, the seventh, will be the release candidate draft sent to a bevy of beta readers. The only requirement is to return a standardized feedback form and, I hope, provide my first reviews on release. Honest reviews are a gift from the Betas, not a demand on my part.
The final revision is then finalized, marking what might be called the eighth review, and the formatting of the e-book and other editions begins.
That sounds arduous, and it might be, but it is also rewarding. Words assemble on a page, and the editor calls them to formation, drilling them into a discipline of language. Draft after draft, the final product becomes more visible. It is a fascinating thing to watch, and highly recommended.
It is likewise with us. No experience of an author is ever wasted. Revision after revision, we ourselves become what we are in a long work of Craftsmanship. Chapter after chapter, transcribed scene by scene, until the end is in sight and we as souls are ready for release.
Benjamin Franklin wrote his epitaph in 1728 as a young man, and although it does not appear on his present tomb, the words will never be forgotten:
The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer (like the cover of an old book, its contents worn out, and stript of its lettering and gilding) lies here, food for worms. Yet the work itself shall not lost, for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by its Author.
Amen. Turn the page.
Choose to Love, -DA