As I write this, it is still International Short Story Day somewhere in the world. I did my bit by sending a free short story to The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog. Be sure to check out all the outstanding horror talents that come before my offering at the end.
So I guess it’s ironic that I should be writing this post today asking for feedback from my readership on making my short stories longer. This was prompted by a review of “Ghosts Can Bleed” that I discovered on Goodreads today. At first, I was excited; let’s be honest, single author collections from anyone less than a household name are a notoriously hard sell, so whenever I discover that a complete stranger has purchased and read my book (and taken the trouble to respond, no less!), I get a little carried away.
My next response was, “Dammit! Another person telling me that my stories are too short and need to be expanded into novels!” ‘Cos I get that comment ALL THE TIME. It’s tempting to get all sniffy about it and say that my critics just don’t understand and appreciate the short form, but the truth is, novels are sexy. Novels are where it’s at. Novels are the form that most readers can relate to. If you’re not a novelist, then you’re not a real writer.
I have been thinking for an unreasonably long time about adapting one or more of my short stories into longer works. For a while there, I thought “The Harvesters” was going to turn into at least a novella, but it bottomed out at 8,600 words. I’ve actually already written the “Nim of the Kamankay” novel, based on the character in the story of the same name and in “Dark Wing”. I wrote it during my one and only attempt at NaNoWriMo, and the result is, in my opinion, a steaming pile of gryphon dung. Maybe there is a diamond buried until all that crap, but I don’t know if I have the strength for all that shoveling.
Next two top contenders for expansion are “Trading Up” and “Baptism”, the latter with a
view to fast-forwarding to a 21st century where mermaids have come out of hiding and taken up residence on the fringes of human society where they cause all sorts of ethical, social and legal upheaval.
But…I dunno. It’s difficult to decide without knowing just which little worlds I have created have most intrigued my audience.
So my question to anybody who has read “Ghosts Can Bleed” (or if not, a fair few of my short stories) – which one would you most like to see expanded into a novel? And why?