100 things #63 expanding a story
It has happened to me several times. I write a short story and need to expand it into a novella. I write a novella and I need to make it into a novel. This is just plain HARD. You have it more or less 'done.' You've submitted it somewhere and they want to see it expanded.
Sounds easy. You're jazzed because someone wants it, or at least is willing to look at it in the expanded form.
You reread it. You look at it and think but...it's DONE. How do I make this bigger? I have been stymied by this many times. I'm still hoping and praying inspiration will strike for Riding with Strangers because if I can expand it, I'm pretty sure I can find it a home. I've been trying for a least three years.
I don't have that luxury with If Two of Them Are Dead, my steampunk murder mystery. The offer is in. I am NOT failing that expectation. I knew a guy once, talked all the time about his writing dreams and when a sure thing landed in his lap, he froze and flopped. I will not allow myself to do this.
So I reread the short story and nothing much was occurring to me but I was reading it bed side and piece meal because I was so swamped with work in the last two weeks. Today I allotted a few hours to nothing but rereading this short story and it worked. I got it edited through and I am SO embarrassed I ever sent it out in this shape. I mean the names changed for characters several times that neither me nor my first reader caught. I guess that says something about the story's strength that they wanted it in spite of that.
I even wrote out over a half dozen possible new scenes. Many of them are crime scene/interrogation stuff. I need to figure out how to weave in the romance, though as far as romances go, this is more subtle. I mean it IS the 1800s and the stakes were entirely different. Being out could mean jail time etc.
I feel better about expanding this story than I ever have about any of the others. Cross your fingers for me that I can make this work.
and just a little something for all of us who are into the writing game. query letters that work I will take ANYTHING that makes me better at this. I find the queries and synopsis to be the hardest part of writing bar none. I'd rather edit than do this but it needs be done.