By Brandon Ford
I’m ashamed to admit it, but when I first started stringing words together and creating my own stories, I was very much a one-and-done writer. I’d complete a first draft and think of the work as finished, spelling and grammatical errors and all. Not only that, but I wasn’t at all apprehensive about passing out these so-called “completed manuscripts” to friends and relatives in hopes of receiving feedback. Okay, who the hell am I kidding? I wasn’t hoping for notes. I was hoping for praise. I was hoping for “It’s brilliant! I loved it! Keep it the way it is!” because to be perfectly honest, I had absolutely no intention on editing or, God forbid, completing another draft.
When I was in my late teens, I became more serious about my craft and began generating multiple drafts. My “ah-ha” moment came when I saw the way the piece began to take shape the more time I dedicated to it. I found that I got more ideas and the story became much more fleshed-out. A fifty-page novella soon became an eighty-page novella. Or a fifteen-page story became a twenty-page story.
Nowadays, I never consider any work complete, whether it’s a short story, a novella, or a full length novel, unless I do at least two drafts. The second draft is where the story really comes to life and I begin to see and realize things that never would’ve occurred to me had I not sat down to begin the first chapter again. Only when I’m in the moment do I realize what should happen where and to whom. I was never one of those writers who printed out drafts and made little notes in the margins or between lines. For me, the best way to edit and revise is to simply begin again. Anything less than two drafts is just lazy, plain and simple. I encourage you to do the same.
Brandon Ford (b. 1981 - ) is an American author of horror and suspense fiction. To date, he has written 3 novels (CRYSTAL BAY, SPLATTERED BEAUTY, and PAY PHONE) and a collection of short stories (DECAYED ETCHINGS). He has also contributed to several genre anthologies, including: CREEPING SHADOWS (a collection of three short novels), THE DEATH PANEL, SINISTER LANDSCAPES, MADE YOU FLINCH, and RAW: BRUTALITY AS ART. He currently resides in Philadelphia.
His Amazon page is here.