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Submitting a chapter from your book

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(@britty4760)
Posts: 27
Advanced Member
Topic starter
 

I've written short stories for a while for the contest and decided to try submitting a chapter from one of the books I'm working on. What's the best way of approaching this and how should I polish it up so it has a satisfying ending? 

V37: 1Q HM, 4 Q HM
V38: 3Q HM, 4Q HM
V39: 1Q HM, 3Q SHM

 
Posted : August 21, 2023 3:06 pm
(@johnalex20)
Posts: 18
Advanced Member
 

Transitioning from short stories to submitting a book chapter? Exciting! Choose a standalone chapter with key elements: characters, setting, conflict. Start strong to hook readers, introduce characters, and conflict. Build tension, showcase character growth, and escalate to a climax. Resolve the chapter's conflict, leaving room for curiosity. Add subtle foreshadowing for depth. Polish for clarity and grammar. Seek feedback from beta readers. Aim for a closing line that lingers.

 
Posted : August 22, 2023 10:56 pm
B.A. Boose reacted
Todd Jones
(@toddjones)
Posts: 618
Gold Star Member
 

That's a tough one.

I've received comments on several submissions that my short stories are bigger stories and I should explore that option. That must mean that I left the ending hanging too much. I like short stories that connect, but stand alone. If you figure out how to get a chapter to stand alone and yet tie into a larger story, please share with me. 

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right."~ Henry Ford
2024 - V41 - Q1-RWC (Resubmitted a "HM"), Q2-HM, Q3-Submitted, Q4-?
2023 - V40 - Q1-HM, Q2-HM, Q3-R, Q4-HM
2022 - V39 - Q1-SHM, Q2-HM, Q3-SF, Q4-HM (Resubmitted a "HM")
2021 - V38 - Q4-HM (Resubmitted a "R")
2020 - V37 - Q2-R

 
Posted : August 23, 2023 5:40 am
B.A. Boose reacted
Gideon Smith
(@gideonpsmith)
Posts: 277
Silver Star Member
 

I would look at prior winners entries who have done exactly that. Patrick Rothfuss is probably the most well known for doing this (?) but there are others who have. Of note his entry (The Road to Levinshir') was not the first chapter of his book. Infact, it wasn't even a chapter from the finished "The Name of the Wind" but from its sequel "The Wise Man's Fear". Now given it took him 5 years and a rewrite to end up at TNotW perhaps TRtL was earlier in the original manuscript (entitled, interestingly enough 'The Song of Flame and Thunder') but clearly not the opening. Instead, its a selected chapter, where the basic elements of a contained story existed. So if I were doing this, I would do the same - not submit the opening, but submit something that stands alone, and consider what world building edits may be necessary to make that work.

 

Of course he might not be the best example as PR himself even points out it wasn't really a short story given it was 14,000 words long https://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2013/06/a-new-story/ and even states " it wasn’t a self-contained discrete entity unto itself".

 

So maybe one has to write as well as PR in order to win with something that isn't a discrete entity laughing  

 

Which is why I would scour the anthologies for other people that have done the same.

"...your motivations for wanting to write are probably complex. You may have a few great passions, you may want to be rich and famous, and you may need therapy."
- Dave Farland, Million Dollar Outlines

Writers of the Future:
2024 Q1: F Q2: HM Q3:P Q4: P
2023 Q1: RWC Q2: SHM Q3: SHM Q4: R
2022 Q4: R
Submissions to other markets:
2024: 17 submitted 4 acceptances
2023: 74 submitted 13 acceptances
2022: 22 submitted 1 acceptance

http://www.gideonpsmith.com

 
Posted : August 23, 2023 6:36 am
Dustin Adams
(@tj_knight)
Posts: 1382
Platinum Plus Moderator
 

I submit that you not hold too rigorously to the tenants of the novel. If you need to bend or even break something that holds true of the novel world - do it. This story must stand alone.

That can really hold you up. Like, oh, this character is a pacifist in the novel and here they need to trap a squirrel to eat. Go for it, get the win, and explain to your audience later on, if we should all be so lucky as to have the need.

 

 

Career:

1x Win
2x NW-F
2x S-F
9x S-HM
11x HM
7x R

 
Posted : August 23, 2023 7:55 am
DoctorJest
(@doctorjest)
Posts: 838
Platinum Member
 

I'm not sure to what extent this could be inverted, but coming at this from the other side, I recall Orson Scott Card talking about how, when you're extending a short story to a novel length, the ending point doesn't significantly change (this was something he saw as a common mistake when doing this, if I remember rightly). The short story is already concluding at the right place, and with the right emotional impact, so what you actually want to extend out is the world-building, character-building, and everything that leads into that point.

If that holds true, then it seems correspondingly like the concluding chapter (or chapters, depending on length) of a story might contain the seeds of the most impactful short story from a given novel, even if they don't seem at first glance to be the most naturally translated into one.

I'm just spit-balling around that first thought, mind you. And I'd definitely side with Dustin's view to bend the story to work in the shorter form.

DQ:0 / R:0 / RWC:0 / HM:15 / SHM:7 / SF:1 / F:1
Published prior WotF entries: PodCastle, HFQ, Abyss & Apex
Currently on a writing hiatus

 
Posted : August 23, 2023 2:32 pm
(@britty4760)
Posts: 27
Advanced Member
Topic starter
 

@johnalex20 that's helpful, thank you!

V37: 1Q HM, 4 Q HM
V38: 3Q HM, 4Q HM
V39: 1Q HM, 3Q SHM

 
Posted : August 28, 2023 2:44 pm
(@britty4760)
Posts: 27
Advanced Member
Topic starter
 

@toddjones Yes, I will definitely share if I figure out how to do it. ?

V37: 1Q HM, 4 Q HM
V38: 3Q HM, 4Q HM
V39: 1Q HM, 3Q SHM

 
Posted : August 28, 2023 3:11 pm
Todd Jones reacted
(@britty4760)
Posts: 27
Advanced Member
Topic starter
 

@gideonpsmith I remember hearing that about Patrick Rothfuss. This seems like it will be an interesting challenge to pursue. I will look through previous books and see others who have done this. Thanks!

V37: 1Q HM, 4 Q HM
V38: 3Q HM, 4Q HM
V39: 1Q HM, 3Q SHM

 
Posted : August 28, 2023 3:15 pm
(@britty4760)
Posts: 27
Advanced Member
Topic starter
 

@tj_knight good point, I will keep that in mind.

V37: 1Q HM, 4 Q HM
V38: 3Q HM, 4Q HM
V39: 1Q HM, 3Q SHM

 
Posted : August 28, 2023 3:16 pm
(@britty4760)
Posts: 27
Advanced Member
Topic starter
 

@doctorjest Alright, thank you. I knew it would be a challenge using a chapter from one of my novels, but I didn't realize how challenging it can be to mold it into a short story. This will sharpen my writing skills for sure!

V37: 1Q HM, 4 Q HM
V38: 3Q HM, 4Q HM
V39: 1Q HM, 3Q SHM

 
Posted : August 28, 2023 3:19 pm
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