The Scariest Part of Horror Is the Rough Draft by Ryan Reudell

Twisted50 was my first foray into horror, yet “The Director’s Cut” remains one of my best work because it was so thoroughly edited before the first submission.

That’s the key to my writing process: editing. Without that, my story would be shit. Accepting this truth helps me move on from Rough Draft Paralysis, when you keep trying to perfect the first draft and never actually finish the story.

I accept that no matter how hard I try, the rough draft will be shit. I let it be shit. And I let the second draft be a (slightly less stinky version of) shit too. I have faith it will get better with each subsequent edit.

And it does. This is because I outline the story beforehand and then dump all my brain juice on the page, no editing as I go—that comes after. Then I trim and cut, tweak and experiment, take a break and return to hone the rough edges, and finally, I pass it on to my team of beta readers, which includes a small group of enthusiastic readers, critical family members, English teachers, and grammar police.

By this point, any writer ego I developed has been thoroughly crushed but my story is great.

Twisted50 was a thoroughly enjoyable (and at times stressful) experience, and I would definitely do it again!

Ryan Reudell

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Howard Ellison (Tuesday, 19 December 2017 18:44)

    Most scary to me was my first-ever attempt at a short story, Charcoal Granny: not the graft of writing so much as what the autobiographical trawl began to liberate from buried memory.
    I'm grateful to fellow-writers at Twisted50 for querying weird/incomprehensible images. Story worked better without them.
    Writing a second piece, fictional, for Singularity 50, was harder. I 'lived with it' through about four drafts and as many months. Again improved by tips from valiant and generous readers here, it is shortlisted. And so the suspense continues!