I finished another redraft of Cinderella Eyes last night, ending at around 78,000 words. I have redrafted this novel more times than I have any of my other works, as it is a narrative nonfiction, although written in a fictitious venue (names changed to protect the innocent and the not-so-innocent, alike), and family occurrences continue to mold the story. The narrative nonfiction/written as fiction aspect gives me some creative slack to rework time-lines and various events, while still holding true to the actual story
I average two or three drafts on all of the works I submit. A first draft, no matter how cohesive, will always need reworking somewhere. A second draft is always closer; my third drafts are all polished enough for submission, although no draft is "final" until it gets published or produced ... and even then there can be room for improvement. I take pride in my perfectionism; I want every work to come out a masterpiece.
I'm fortunate enough to have two phenomenal editors, as well. They hold no punches in their critiques, and for that I am grateful. No one enjoys having their work shredded and deeply, critically evaluated ... but real, constructive criticism truly has the power to make any good work great. I never blow off a critique ... and, for that reason alone, I have been able to progress my work to the quality level that it is currently at.