Bigger Piece or One-Shot?

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
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Bigger Piece or One-Shot?

Postby WillowReeves » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:11 pm

So I'm trying to think up of my second entry for the contest and have been asking myself this question with no answer coming to me:

Is it better to take a segment of a larger piece (novel or potential novel) and adjust it for the 17,000-word count or is it better to start something 100% fresh and end it with the contest?

The last piece I used featured characters from a potential novel in a plot that I came up with for the contest (which after working on it, might make it to the novel too) but I only made it as far as Honorable Mention wotf018

So I've got a fire in my belly to go at it again and begin the next piece to submit but I'm not sure if I should go this route again.

Any suggestions? wotf017

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Re: Bigger Piece or One-Shot?

Postby morganb » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:02 am

I say as long as the story can stand on its own, with its own story and character arc, and it's told vividly with an original voice, then GO FOR IT!

"If you can do it for joy, you can do it forever."
- Stephen King

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Re: Bigger Piece or One-Shot?

Postby orbivillein » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:50 am

Consider the reverse? Excerpts from novels that stand alone and hold up to scrutiny and appeal are few and far between though exquisite. Ralph Ellison's "Battle Royal" excerpted from The Invisible Man is an example of excellence (Houston Community College hosted PDF).

How does the excerpt stand alone? The excerpt is a complete action in and of itself, mostly a past now-moment scene mode, though ample narrator recollection and contemporary-now commentary, too, plus subtext appeals. The protagonist expresses a natural and necessary want right at the start and all the cast and situation thwart the satisfaction of the want, and the outcome, the "destination," an inevitable and dramatic and natural and necessary surprise.

On the other hand, more than a few short stories launched novels and writer careers. The traditional pathway to publication success, an expanded or saga continuation of a short story, a motif, facet, or feature propelled more than a few writers toward celebrity -- more so in science fiction and fantasy than other genres. The same phenomena as excerpts, that is, the short stories portray completed actions in and of themselves and express a facet of the human condition subtext. Isaac Asimov's 1941 "Runaround," the first explicit appearance of the "Three Laws of Robotics," is an example of excellence.

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