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Why on God’s Green Earth am I creating a collection of my stories?

Well, you see, I had all these three quarters written stories, all in my Wine of the Gods series, but I’d written and published past them. And my numbering is mixed up enough already thank you.

I can publish a collection as number 42. But the ‘Zon won’t let me publish stories 17.5, 26.9, 33.5, 34.52 and 37.5.

I can’t imagine why. 

So, how to organize them.

Well, chronologically according to where they fit in the series seems reasonable. And I can always stick something in like “After Earth Gate” in to help series readers, even though that won’t be terribly helpful for new readers (heaven help them, or better yet, point them at the first book in the series!)

Now, not all writers will have enough stories in a series to collect only them. Or, of course, they may not write series.

I’ve seen them thematic connected—all Space Operas or all Romance. Or a progression, a couple of military, then a couple of mysteries, then a couple of comedies.

But I’ve got series stories.

Lois McMaster Bujold made a collection “Borders of Infinity” with a bit of a framing story around it. Which has always intrigued me. So of course I imitated it.

(Just a working cover)

 

And, well, gateway writing. The frame story is getting a bit out of control.

So apart from out-of-control organizing, what problems have I run into?

Continuity errors, or rather road bumps. The Multiverse has changed since I wrote these stories. Which cross-dimensional criminals are at large at this time? Didn’t I finally kill her? Has anyone gotten married, divorced, had children, landed in jail? Where does this fit politically, if I mention any presidents or ambassadors? Is this the correct military rank at this time for this character?

The biggest problem, of course, is finishing the six stories that go inside the frame, plus writing the frame before I can publish anything.

Sometimes I think my Muse hates me. But most of the time we happily cruise along thinking up strange new problems to throw at my fictional friends.

This is not one of those times.

Anyhow, if any of you have created collections of your short work, tell us about your problems, solutions, and disasters.

And Stone is now out in print as well as the usual ebook.  He is _not_ a Werewolf. More of a big friendly dog. Really.

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pam, another example to look at are Faith Hunter’s collections in the Jane Yellowrock series. She does a pretty good job of letting the reader know where in the grand scheme of things each story falls. It’s been awhile since I read them but I think she has done both a chronological listing but also a note before each story saying where it falls (just a line or two, again iirc)

    March 15, 2019
  2. Not so much directly related to the post but some feedback:

    point them at the first book in the series!

    Point them at one and two (or at least the first novella in two) and tell them to read them as one story.

    I wish I had. I read one and felt somewhat let down by the ending. Yes, it completed the story, but didn’t leave me really wanting more. As a result I didn’t read the preview at the end of #1 of #2. When I did I ran straight through to book 7 or 8 before shifting to something else for a change.

    Maybe that’s just me, but that really did provide a coda that made me want to continue the story.

    March 15, 2019
  3. Grabbing Patricia Brigg’s Shifting Shadows off the shelf, she did it roughly Chronologically, with a page before each story to tell when each story took place, how it related to one (or more) of the books / plot threads in the series, and a personal note about how the story came about / the author felt about it / what it means to the author, and some include factual tidbits about the universe (which often, unsurprisingly, are things subtly shown in-series, but if the reader hadn’t gotten them yet, they help make the story relevant / understandable.

    She also includes a note of where it was previously published (if it was), which likely helps some readers go “Oh, I’ve bought this one before!” without feeling cheated.

    Joan D. Vinge’s Phoenix in the Ashes, on the other hand, starts straight with the stories, and then has an author afterword, describing how the story came about, and talking about the process of writing ’em or working with editors while publishing ’em.

    March 15, 2019
    • That’s a good idea, as is Herb’s about pointing new readers toward the start of the series.

      March 15, 2019
  4. Christopher M. Chupik #

    In a few years the rights to some of my earliest published works will start reverting to me. I guess I’ll be collecting them when it happens.

    March 15, 2019
  5. mrsizer #

    (Just a working cover) I was hoping it was an Amazon link. But, then this one was And Stone is now out in print as well as the usual ebook. Yay!

    You’ve totally lost me in the time-line and who is doing what where. I’d have to start over from book 4 or 5 to figure it all out again. (And, at that point, why not start over at book 1?) I just ignore the confusion. For example, there are a couple of embassies on Embassy World that I don’t remember ever hearing about, before. Oh well. The story is good even if I don’t know why their booth in Cooking is a pirate ship.

    March 15, 2019
    • It was a naval ship until the dwarf acrobats captured it.

      March 15, 2019
      • And it won’t hurt my feelings if you skip large swaths of #3. I think a lot of readers drop any thoughts of continuing the series at that point.

        March 15, 2019
        • TheOtherSean #

          Do you think there’s something in that one that might get somebody’s goat?

          March 16, 2019
        • My problem with 3 was right at the beginning of the story as I was scratching my head and going “Who are these people and what do they got to do with River?”. At that point I was already jarred by the shifting in POV’s and the jump in time to River. When I started 3 I was already a tad pissed because the characters that I came to know in Tripoli just after the exile just had their story cut short by a jump in time to River, now River’s story got cut short with a jump time to here…

          At the start of 4 if there had been another big jump in time I would have walked.

          March 18, 2019
          • Yeah, #1 and #2 were prequels to the first one I wrote. Have you gotten to #9 and found out what happened to River and Simon?

            March 20, 2019
            • I have read the entire series, plus the Directorate series, 3 times now 🙂 .Hoewever that first time through…

              March 21, 2019
              • I think a lot of readers choke on the goats. I hadn’t thought about all my time jumping, with the stories in Exiles and then the jump to the Black Goats.

                March 21, 2019
  6. mrsizer #

    Oh. I didn’t answer the question.

    For the book: … a collection of short stories taking place between Book X and Book Y.

    For each story: This takes place before/during Book Z. Blurb each story and stick that on the end.

    That way someone can start reading the collection, stop to read up to book Z, then read the next collection story.

    March 15, 2019
  7. Mary #

    Collections sell better than individual stories. Even collections like mine, which are of unrelated stories.

    Make sure your title covers them all. I’ve seen reviewers discuss the number of curses and wonders in Curses and Wonders.

    On the bright side, the cover can indicate “general genre.”

    March 16, 2019
  8. Margaret Ball #

    “Which cross-dimensional criminals are at large at this time? Didn’t I finally kill her? Has anyone gotten married, divorced, had children, landed in jail? Where does this fit politically, if I mention any presidents or ambassadors? Is this the correct military rank at this time for this character?”

    For some reason I keep picturing you in a little room whose walls are literally papered with lists of characters, titles, relationships. Of course by this point in the series it might have to be a BIG room.

    March 16, 2019
    • Fortunately _most_ of my lists are on the computer, and thus easily searched. There’s only four things on the wall, and couple of sheets close to hand. And a white board with WRITING (8 items) EDITING (2 items) and PUBLISHING (zero, zip, nada–at the moment)

      March 16, 2019

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