In The Artful Edit, Susan Bell gives examples from many writers' processes. I had a lot of fun reading her account of how author Luc Sante works, because I saw myself. According to Bell, Sante himself has interviewed over 100 writers and found hardly any who work the way he does. I am one of these rare birds.
Sante doesn't do drafts, by which he means he doesn't write a fairly quick first draft and then go over it numerous times to fix different aspects each time. Sante edits as he writes, meaning he does a lot of it in his head. His "first draft" takes forever, because he's editing all the way, to the point where the sentences that actually get recorded are pretty polished, and he sides with those who believe that the more an idea perks in the brain, the more mature and better-written it will be when it does hit the page. Sante says: "I write the next paragraph, the next page, painfully slowly, as if I were picking up a transmission from Alpha Centauri on a crystal radio in bad weather. I can't go on to the next sentence until this one feels right . . ."
Sante hardly macro-edits at all, but micro-edits to no end even after writing the high-level "draft." He writes strictly in sequence, rarely changing the order or structure of scenes but picking tirelessly at words. And here's a quote I think is really cool: "Sometimes . . . I get the next sentence dictated to me, which means, generally, that I hear its exact rhythm before I know what the words will be that compose it."
Wow. Me too. All of it. It feels kind of strange, because it seems that everybody writes in drafts and so I speak of drafts too. I mean, it's common language with which to communicate with other writers. But I'm outing myself by identifying with Sante. I do it the way he does.
Anybody else do this?