An Interesting Idea

When I (Mark) approached the others with the idea for this blog, I made sure of one caveat. We would not use this site to promote our own writing/publishing efforts. Other than some references to those efforts in our bios, I hope to stick to that principle.

However, I want to discuss a collection of short stories I’m reading, not to promote the book itself, but to promote the idea behind it.

Audrey Driscoll recently published Tales From the Annexe, a collection of short stories, half of which derive from her Herbert West series of novels and half of which come from somewhere else.

I’m still in the first half, the ones that come out of her Herbert West work, and I think it’s a fascinating idea. To write short stories that flesh out some of the characters and incidents from her novels. In these stories, we learn more about the characters and the tales also reveal a darker, grittier side of things.

With some of my completed fictional work, I’ve occasionally thought of going further, but I typically resist that impulse. When I’m done with the story, I want to be done with it. I want to find new characters and a new tale to tell. After reading the first few of Audrey’s stories, I’m thinking I may go back to some of my older stories and see if there are side tracks I can take some of the characters down.

I made a commitment to myself for 2021. I want to write a short story each month this year, to try to get back into the habit of short story writing. Something I don’t do much of anymore. This may be the way to open the door to those stories.

I know that there are writers out there who do a lot of prep work for their stories, including character sketches and bios for their characters, outlines and all sorts of other things. Does anybody else do what Audrey has done with Tales From The Annexe — write stand alone short stories based on the characters and settings of your longer pieces? If not, and you’re struggling like I am, maybe this is a way to re-launch.


  1. Writers are often advised to save scenes they delete from their manuscripts and use them in some other way. Short stories related to the main work would be such a use. Authors who are attached to a character or group of characters and can’t stop generating story ideas involving those characters can write some short, complete pieces to be published in collections, on blogs, or offered to anthologies. Readers who discover and like these short pieces may decide to check out the related novels. (Don’t kill your darlings, dress them up and make them work for you!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kingmidget says:

      Definitely. The short stories can pull a reader into the longer works.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Chuck Litka says:

    Late in 2019, after nine months of trying and failing to get a couple of stories beyond a chapter or two, I decided to write stories without worrying about word count. I’d let the story be whatever it ended up being. I’m not a short story fan, so they weren’t going to be short stories, but novellas or short novels. I had three stories in mind, two were sequels, one was an original. Freed of having to come up with a plot that would fill 100+K words, I wrote one 55K word sequel, plus two original pieces, a 32K word novella, and 65K word novel in 2020. So, yes, going shorter worked for me.

    Though I should add that the sequel I wrote was for a story that l intended to write a sequel to, but couldn’t come up with a plot to fill a 100k novel. The sequel that I haven’t written, is for a story that I don’t know if I want to open up again. So revisiting stories might be tricky.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. kingmidget says:

      My last novel started as a 1,500 word short story, that then became a 30,000 word novella, that then became an 80,000 word novel. And it could lead to future stories as well. I’m a firm believer in the idea that word count shouldn’t be the leading factor in storytelling. I typically start with an idea of whether a story is short, long, or somewhere in between. I try to stick with that as I write, but I’m not rigid about it. What happens as I write really determines the length of the story.


  3. Patrick Prescott says:

    Lots of good ideas here. Thanks to Berthold for adding the link to this site on his blog. I’ll be back.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s