Well, not done exactly, but the story is finished. It needs editing and other such stuff, but I wrote “The End” yesterday at a little over 33K words. It felt good. I knew there was a longer story in there when I started thinking about it, but wasn’t sure how much longer. Was I talking about 12K words? 20K words? I was thrilled to find out that it ended up a little over 33K. And I like it. I think it holds together pretty good and tells an interesting story.
I’m going to unpublish the short version sometime very soon, but it will be included at the end of the novella and will still be available in 14 DARK WINDOWS. Look for it in the upcoming months!
I’d remove the short version completely. I’m not sure Amazon would allow it anyway. Keep it around, of course. Some day you will be famous and some PhD student will want to study your creative process!
I’d call it a novella–33K is roughly half of a full novel. I just finished one I started before my first novel. I finished that first novel and latter threw it out, but I never finished the novella. Whereas that first novel was something like the movie City of Angels, the novella is more like Starman–both were started long before the movies.
I think going back to old story ideas is productive. One doesn’t always have to start afresh from a what-if or a character idea. And who’s going to do it but you?
I plan on removing the short story (the one you see on the right next to these replies) completely and waiting a short time, then uploading the novella with the same cover. The novella will contain the short story at the end, and the short story will still be available in 14 DARK WINDOWS.
I think that there might be a couple of other short stories that are worthy of an expansion. I wrote one called THE GHOST TRAIN, found in DIE 6, which is about 10600 words, and I’m using a bit of that one in something I started that doesn’t have a title yet but it set in the same town as that one, with some of the same characters. I’d like to try to expand PLAYING MAN someday as well…
I always think twice about a redo (or second edition, whatever you want to call it). I think I told the story about the ending of the first movement to Beethoven’s Fifth in my course on fiction writing. We could also call it buyer’s remorse–the creator of the artwork has “bought” one of his own products and is having second thoughts, leading to a desire to tinker. Clearly, one has to balance this with the idea that maybe the original was the best version and one should leave well enough alone. It’s a conundrum.
So far I’ve limited myself to second editions where either (1) no ebook was available or (2) the first edition was no longer competitive in price. Of course, I don’t reread what I’ve already written and copy and content edited all that often either. If I did, I’d probably feel like tinkering. 🙂
Each author has to choose her or his own path in solving this conundrum. In the final accounting, readers will determine if the choice is the correct one.
I agree with this as a general rule. On the one hand we have the ability to change errors or do rewrites quickly nowadays, but like you, I rarely go back and rewrite things that were previously published. The short version of ODD MAN OUT was written as a piece of flash fiction around the opening sentence. I’m not sure that there were words that needed to be incorporated into the story or not; I don’t notice any that are forced into the story. My friend Rich Siegle did the cover for it, and I really like it. He’s a pro, does covers for Poison Pen Press on a freelance basis, and when he showed me what he’d come up with, I was impressed.
I’m hoping that the pro cover combined with a longer story will move some copies. One never knows.
Those other ideas I mentioned are more along the lines of writing in the same world (in the case of the Addison Falls/Ghost Train story) or moving outside of the short story to tell a broader tale of the world as it exists (in the Playing Man case). We’ll see if I ever do anything with either of them.
I think you’re doing fine in managing your time (my rhyming couplet for the day). I know by experience that having a day-job means you’re writing in stolen moments. Many writers are in that situation. Moreover, it’s fiercely competitive now. I read somewhere that Dean Koontz was given a year to get his act together by his wife (i.e. have enough success to support the family). That was a different time–fewer writers and more readers–but today it’s a different story.
We do the best we can. You look for the positives: you’re managing you’re writing, not pariah-agents, you found Rich, and you can release your work as you see fit. If you believe the stats, only a small percentage of fiction writers can make a living at it, so we work around that the best we can. Onward and upward!