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Old 07-03-2012, 07:38 PM   #1
gmw
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Second bite of the cherry

I'm currently re-reading some Anne McCaffrey, and I am reminded that it used to be common for Sci-Fi writers to publish short stories, and then later put linked ones together (with some changes) into a novel. I also see in McCaffrey's short story collection, Get Off the Unicorn, where she admits republishing one or more stories with a different ending to their original publication (as a reader this latter annoys me).

Do these things happen much any more in any genre? (I don't see it, but my reading habits have changed a lot over the years and wondering if I'm not just picking up the right books to see it.)

What do you think of taking such second bites of the cherry with your stories? A cheat? Something you would like to do? Something that only applies to traditional publishing?
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:28 PM   #2
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This is a good article "When I bought your book I didn't sign up to be your beta reader" http://vacuousminx.wordpress.com/201...r-beta-reader/

Then there's Elle Lothlorien who changed the endings on her books in response to reviews http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2012...ative-reviews/ Though I do have my issues with her approach because it feels a lot like she bullies people into changing their reviews and "liking her." There's a whole ton of people that really don't like her approach and I've made the conscious choice not to read her stuff. Because I have a finite amount of money and what if I buy the wrong version and get an ending I don't like?

Some people suggest that if you're self-publishing, you should include both versions. Others say sell them as different versions with different covers. Above all, I think people should just be honest. I hate when I buy a book and find out it's just a compilation of stories I've already read and they market it as "new." That's lame and I feel cheated out of my money.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:49 PM   #3
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There's a term for that kind of phenomenon but I forgot what it's called edit: "fix-up novel"

It really depends on the short story/novelette/novella: is there room for it to grow/expand?

Linking it to other stories are a different matter. Sometimes, the short stories were really chapters in a novel to begin with. Sometimes it's the reverse.

It still happens in genre. Margo Lanagan's The Brides of Rollrock Island/Sea Hearts (title depends on where you are) was previously a novella. Jeffrey Ford's The Shadow Year was also based on a novella of his (different ending though).

If done right, I don't feel it's a cheat. On the other hand, some were better off left as short stories/novellas/novelettes.

Last edited by charlesatan; 07-09-2012 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:53 AM   #4
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Harper: This Elle Lothlorien sounds like everything I preach to new authors NOT to be. She's definitely one of those authors I would encourage people to boycott with a passion and flock to the ones that are good natured, take criticism well, and have a realistic view of themselves and publishing. This Elle does not.

Now on the topic of your cool link to the "I'm not your beta reader" article, I think it makes a good point. If it's published, it sure as hell better be PERFECT, or as close as humanly possible. That's why I am constantly in the lookout for feedback and proof readers. The more eyes on target, the less likely something wrong (typo, plot hole, etc) will slip into the final version. Also, it's an encouragement to me to be on my game 100% before the book even goes to the feedback and proof readers. I always make my goal with anything I send to my proof readers to be such that the book comes back spotless and without issue. That obviously never happens, as the feedback and proof readers ALWAYS find something (that's just part of being a writer), but if I keep pushing myself such that I will go that extra mile to ensure a perfect book, I know that I will produce something that my readers will love. To me that's more important than how many copies I sell or how much I make. If people enjoyed it and were happy, then I'm happy. But if they're not, then I'm not, no matter how trivial the problem.
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:24 AM   #5
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Steve: Sometimes the mistakes slip through, so the nice thing about e-publishing is that you can go through and correct them and there's not a big hassle about print recalls or whatever. But that chick... she was actively rewriting her book based on the feedback of her readers. That's just really lame to me and I would be really peeved if I'd bought her book.

Amazon sends these emails when new editions of a book are put out, so if I was getting them all the time it would get annoying really fast.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Lake View Post
Now on the topic of your cool link to the "I'm not your beta reader" article, I think it makes a good point. If it's published, it sure as hell better be PERFECT, or as close as humanly possible.

I think its one thing to release with edits for typo's grammar, or spelling mistakes. It is another to CHANGE the STORY. I do not think I would ever change the story, but it is common (or at least it seems to me to be common) to see even the big publishing houses release new editions with error's fixed.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:08 AM   #7
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The SF world has a long history of "fix-up" novels which are really linked short stories.

The Martian Chronicles came from this

as did

City by Clifford Simak

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson is a linked collection of short stories.


As far as changing stories, I've seen many an introduction that said a author in retrospect didn't like the result of a story, but usually did not change it. I was just reading an Ursula K. LeGuin essay about how she would now re-write something she wrote in the past. She added parenthetical changes to the piece. Interesting.

I'm actually in the midst of writing a 'linked collection' - my Marville stories modeled somewhat on Winesburg, Ohio

One thing I don't generally care for is when a short story it EXPANDED to be a novel. It usually doesn't work for me, though there are exceptions. This too seems to be a tradition in the SF world.

Last edited by kennyc; 07-06-2012 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:12 PM   #8
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Brian Keene has borrowed ideas from his earlier short stories a few times, most recently in Darkness on the Edge of Town.
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:48 PM   #9
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Well, as for "fix-up novels", I do my best to avoid those. However, that can't be completely done. Case in point, I've got one series I'm working on that'll need a capstone novelette to answer some questions left out in the other books because the series didn't go quite as expected (ie, it ended sooner then originally planned) so I'm having to write a short novel to close out the remaining storylines that weren't answered at the end of the final book in the series. Of course, I may decide not to do that novelette simply because it leaves the universe wide open for a few other series. Hopefully I'll be able to decide soon.
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Old 07-06-2012, 05:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
it used to be common for Sci-Fi writers to publish short stories, and then later put linked ones together
What are these "short stories" of which you speak?

A "pro" magazine sale offers as much money now as it did during McCaffrey's day, which was the same amount it had been decades earlier. It's become not worth it save as a marketing tool to perhaps "shave off" part of a novel to print in a periodical (which I guess is the same thing happening in reverse).

Quote:
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What do you think of taking such second bites of the cherry with your stories? A cheat? Something you would like to do? Something that only applies to traditional publishing?
Well, as you point out, Anne McCaffrey did this.

AND NOW SHE'S DEAD.
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:40 AM   #11
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What are these "short stories" of which you speak?
Asimov is probably one of them. Walter Miller Jr. is another.

Successful fix-up novels in SF include Flowers for Algernon, Ender's Game, Farenheit 451...
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:58 AM   #12
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H.P. Lovesauce: I wasn't sure if the question was really a question (the smiley confused me), but charlesatan gives some good examples (Asimov's Nightfall was certainly in my mind when I wrote the OP, also Card's Ender's Game), along with some others mentioned above and the already mentioned McCaffrey - for whom you can look to several (most?) of her early novels.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:21 AM   #13
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I have seen DVD movies advertised with alternative endings. Maybe with eBooks a trend can start where a reader buys all but the final chapter then chooses according to mood or taste.
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:26 AM   #14
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I have seen DVD movies advertised with alternative endings. Maybe with eBooks a trend can start where a reader buys all but the final chapter then chooses according to mood or taste.
That already exists in traditional book form... Google "pick a path to adventure" or "chose your own adventure" for examples.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:08 AM   #15
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I have seen DVD movies advertised with alternative endings. Maybe with eBooks a trend can start where a reader buys all but the final chapter then chooses according to mood or taste.
I hate that. A story should have only one ending!
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