Re: RARA-AVIS: Sallis: Converting story to novel

From: James Reasoner (
Date: 12 Feb 2004

----- Original Message ----- From: <> To: <> Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2004 5:29 PM Subject: RARA-AVIS: Sallis: Converting story to novel

> Jim Sallis writes:
> << Just today I sent my agent a new manuscript, WILDERNESS: TWO NOVELS,
> comprising the novel-length version of my story "Drive" from Dennis
> McMillan's anthology MEASURES OF POISON and another short novel, OTHERS
> MY KIND. >>
> We're not so much of a writers' forum here, but I'm wondering if you could
> say a few things about converting "Drive" into a novel, and/or more
> about moving a story to a novel. Did you have a novel in mind from the
> and "Drive" was a test-drive version? Or did you think the story deserved
> novel treatment once it was finished? Were there special challenges in
> the extension? I found the story-like structure of (was it both?) "Moth"
> "Long-Legged Fly" rewarding in a number of ways. Did you have the
storylines and
> then discover a way to interweave them? Was the interweaving part of a
> design at the outset? (These are broader issues that Bill Crider, James
> and others might address as well. Most readers on this list have probably
> encountered shorter-length versions of novels by lots of authors discussed
> C. Williams, MacDonald, etc.)

I don't think I've ever expanded a shorter work into a novel, so I can't really address that. I've done some books with interweaving storylines, including a novel that wound up being based on outlines for three different books, because the editor liked all of the plots and wanted to know if there was any way I could combine them. I can generally keep stuff like that pretty straight in my head, but occasionally, especially with large-cast books, I've had to resort to charts and diagrams to keep track of where everybody is and what they're doing. I don't like doing that. I feel that if I can't keep track of all that in my head, it's probably too complicated.


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