The first draft is the caterpillar, munching its way through the vegetation, laying down words like layers of fat. It grows bigger and bigger, lumpy and spiny and vaguely formed, until it is huge and bloated. The first draft is complete.
Then comes the chrysalis - the editing process. The internal tissues are broken down and reformed. New structures are added, others removed. Flabby prose is deleted and replaced with colour and richness. A little fine tuning and it is ready.
The pupa splits open and the butterfly emerges, fanning its new wings in the spring sunshine – a creature almost unrecognisable from that clunky caterpillar. One final check and it is ready to fly.
Click on ‘send’ and off it goes.