I've been asked before about how many times I usually redraft a piece of writing that I'm working on. The answer varies, because it's always true that there are some scenes which will stay almost the same throughout the whole process of writing a book. But this is rare, and it's not unusual for me to rewrite and edit a scene up to 10 or 12 times. I'd say that most parts of The Heart at War are at about draft number 10 already. This might make it sound like a pretty laborious process, but it's very satisfying to see the book improving and becoming more intricate with each step.
At this stage, after a couple of years of work on The Heart at War, most of the main scenes and events are already in place. I have a clear picture of how the story fits together and nearly all of it is written to its final level of detail. Now, it's a question of checking and rechecking each thread of the book to see that it makes sense in relation to the whole, and adding intensity and colour to some scenes while also focusing on the short linking passages that often weave a story together and give it its distinctive tone (Leo's present-day voice in The Eyes of a King, for example, was the last part of all to be finished). The best metaphor I can find for the process is that of a painter finishing a picture, building the paint in layers stage by stage so that it comes into clearer focus, trying to see each part in relation to the whole, but not afraid to recolour or retouch the parts that need further detail or work.
I can't say exactly how long the process will take, but it's exciting to see the final canvas coming together. I will keep you updated!