1. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    A Chronicle in Search of Several Plots

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Catrin Lewis, Mar 13, 2017.

    As I study the business of writing, I'm learning that one of the best ways to drive readers to your work on line is to have a lot of work available. More novels, if you can, but short story collections and novellas can promote name recognition, too.

    One thing I've heard suggested (by those in a position to suggest) is that you write side stories featuring the characters in your main novel. Well, good. I could probably do that. Heck, I have over 60,000 words of backstory on my female MC sitting on my hard drive unused and some of it's pretty dramatic, imho.

    But all it is is the chronicle of one failed relationship after another. Can readable stories be cobbled out of that? They can't be romances since there's no Happily Ever After to any of them. Or could I make something of this in the Women's Fiction line, where yeah, it doesn't work out with the guy, but she comes out of it stronger and wiser?

    Have any of you reworked cut-out backstory into something with a plot of its own? What's the best way to approach this, do you think?
     
  2. JE Loddon

    JE Loddon Active Member

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    I would have it as a prequel of sorts, but framed as the character's diary? A new entry every day? Or maybe have each post as a letter she is sending to a friend, telling the friend what is going on in her life? The writing is still there, but it's framed in a way that it is effectively 'supplementary materials' for the book.
     
  3. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Reworking it as a diary might be fun and give me practice working in first person. It couldn't be a series of letters, though, as something happens to her early on that she tells absolutely no one about until she spills it to the hero in the novel itself.

    I'd really like to break it up into three novellas, if I could. The trick will be coming up with the right conclusion to each.
     
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  4. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Just so it won't actually interfere with your main story or give anything away, why not simply make a few changes? Change the characters's names and a few other details about them, but keep what you've written essentially intact. That way you can maybe be a bit more dramatic and have more leeway without screwing up your main story. Nobody but you needs to know it's stuff you originally wrote for another story. I certainly won't tell. :)
     
  5. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'm afraid it's too late for that, as a few of the events are hinted at/referred to in the novel, and they're rather distinctive.

    First-person diary format would enable me to steer clear of some target audience problems that Third Limited would land me in. But I'd often have to call for some major suspension of the reader's disbelief, since I want the reader to follow the adventures of the MC in real time without the MC spoiling the ups and downs with foreshadowing. [You know: "Dear Diary, I had my job interview today. It went terribly, and I think I'll run away and join the circus. It started out so well, though . . . " Nope. Not what I have in mind.]
     
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  6. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    I've recently written a short story using characters of my main novels and published it online, with a lot more success than I could have dreamt of! I had strangers reading it and asking where they could read the "rest". The rest is not yet published, I'm afraid, but I never thought a short story would be this successful to start with.
    Now that I have this experience I can only hope I have more ideas for short stories using secondary characters and obscure subplots that weren't developed in the main novels. I've learned that people will be less "afraid" of a 30,000 word story they can find online for free, and if they like it, they'll be coming back for more.
    I've never been a reader of short stories and now I realise I've underestimated their value. I thought back on my own experience and remembered all those authors I've discovered by reading a short story that has attracted me to invest in their novels because I liked the style and the subjects. Funny that I had forgotten about the short stories, but fact is: it works!
    What I did there was a fluke. I always wanted to write a Christmas story and never had any idea of how to go about it, but suddenly I realised that I could write about the Solstice instead and explore all the subjects I wanted to explore, and at the same time I could weave into it another idea that sprung from my main novel never to be explored, while at the same time showing in more detail a particular romantic relationship that I didn't have the space to develop in the novel.
    Sounds like a soup, doesn't it? Yet, the stars aligned, and a coherent short story came from all these ideas.
    The same way, I've been toying with the idea of two kids caught in a flood and I have no clue what to do with this yet, and I thought it was too short a story anyway, but now that I'm beginning to see an angle I'll certainly give it more thought and consider ways to tie it to the main novel. I don't force it, I just let it come to me.
    It certainly paid the effort and I strongly recommend it!
     
  7. Joe King

    Joe King Member

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    Another, possibly much more difficult way of doing it could be to add in the point of view from her partner/s. Depending on how it's written, you could create multiple short stories, each one based around each relationship?
     
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