Me, I fall somewhere in the middle. My first drafts are me trying to tell the story to myself. They’re the place where I can spend pages describing a forest scene, leap without any thought for logic or consistency to the moon in the next paragraph, follow enticing rabbit trails into Land of the Next Story, return to This Story by way of a dream sequence, change the hero’s eye color five times and inadvertently kill of the heroine’s siblings from one scene to the next. To me, they’re the raw material that I then pare and cut, mold and shape. I need a couple of good goes at the ms before it’s beta-ready.
And I know a lot of writers work similarly.
But, goodness! Ten drafts? Fifteen drafts? I’d spork my eyes if I had to go through that many drafts–and this is before editorial input. That many revisions would suck the soul out of the story and the joy out of my writing. Nuh-uh. I’d rather give the story its chance in the world, trunk it if it didn’t sell, and go write the next one.
Every writer is different. There are writers who produce quality work in one or two drafts, and others who need ten or fifteen. My takeaway from reading these two posts pretty much back-to-back is: do what works for you. Find your own way. Tweak other writers’ methods to suit yourself. Own the process.
Few writing “rules” are set in stone.