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.

Too Short is a rapper, apparently. Who knew? Oh…the entire rest of the world? Well, OK then. Carry on…

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

“Baptism” – partially inspired by this.

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?

  1. *sigh* It’s complicated…Part of it is that I feel that I need to stretch myself and get out of my comfort zone. And part of it is a lack of self-confidence. The thing is, I never let stories run away from me. I take the idea and distill it down to as concentrated an essence as I can. The difficulty for me, because I’m too close to the stories, is in identifying those concepts that have been compressed down so tightly that they have become slightly dissatisfying to the reader. It might be that I end up going with a completely different idea.

  2. ajponder says:

    I think you have to ask yourself is there anything you wanted to accomplish, but couldn’t in the first story – was it a first chapter – sigh – been there. Or are they all really wrapped up – only you can really know this. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t necessarily think a favourite short would work as a long or vice versa – maybe your public would disagree – but what do you like about the long version – is there a story you always wanted to tell – or do you just want to write a novel because they’re sexy? Besides if you’re thinking of kindle/insert gadget here publishing many of those books are quite short and often little more than novellas anyway. I think you need to look around for ideas that run away on you and DEMAND that they get their word-count – because I know you’re writing for a market – but if you don’t love it and want to lay down a year of your life for it – what’s the point?

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