I have this thing where I have no real interest in what I call “the random follow up”. ( Yeah, yeah, I know it sounds dismissive.)
These are the short stories which are neither epilogue nor sequel nor part of a series nor anything that seems to follow the plot/storylines of the earlier book. They just seem to depict a chance scene or event or whatever at some stage in the couple’s life.
I have seen a fair number of them around, but I don’t buy them (unless they happen to be in an anthology I’ve picked up) and I don’t tend to hunt them down on an author’s website or blog to read them.
I’m not sure why my lack of interest. Maybe the story had already been brought to a satisfying conclusion for me?? A strange desire to have a sequel proper?? *shrugs* Who knows.
I’m interested to hear if I’m the only one who has this, let’s be honest, rather weird not really aversion but meh-ness about the whole random follow up thing.
I also want to know why you think these appear to be so prevalent is it because:
– the characters still have stories to be told that don’t necessarily ‘fit’ into a longer story format;
– the short scenes etc may have already been written but not included in the original book;
– the fans demand it;
– the internet facilitates it; or,
– is it all of the above… or something else entirely.
I know I’m full of
shit questions at the moment, aren’t I? Just call me Kurious Kris. 🙂
All of the above, I think. I nearly fell prey to the first reason when I was left with some critical loose ends at the end of InDescent. I decided to write a novella-length sequel, instead, since a loose-ends tie-up doesn’t amount to much of a story.I haven’t read any of these shorties, though. I suppose if I were heavily invested in a character or relationship or story arc, I might. When enough readers become deeply involved in a fictional world, it’s understandable for the author to give them more of what they crave, even if the fixes are small ones.
Great to hear the perspective of an author, K Z. I’ve read a couple of follow ups on the ‘Fiction with Friction’ site when they do their holiday freebies thing and I read the Maia Strong associated with The Ballad of Jimothy Redwing, but other than that… not really into them at all.I think if it was tieing up loose ends like the Maia Strong did (although I didn’t NEED anything other than the HFN it had) I could probably understand it. However, I do prefer a longer, more developed sequel with a plot because I personally find it more satisfying than a too short somewhat random glimpse.Can I ask you (or any other authors who drop in) a question though?? Unless you DID have a bunch of character stories lurking in the brain waiting to be told, wouldn’t it piss you off to some extent to keep on getting requests for more?? I would think that it might become intrusive/disruptive to other stories you are in the process of writing.
I think it’s pretty much all of the above as well. I personally like reading them if it’s for a book that I enjoyed reading and I had become involved with the characters as KZ said. For instance I auto buy absolutely anthing regarding the Jarheads because I totally love that series.If I wasn’t too invested in the original I might not buy the little follow ups though. As a preference I like full length sequels better than the shorties but sometimes I’ll take what I can get.
I’m not at all fond of places like LI, who release holiday shorts of characters from novels. Sort of out takes from their lives. Just useless. Authors…prz to write something new now. thx.
Hi Lily and thanks for letting me what you think about the whys and hows of shorts.For me, the point about a reader’s personal investment in a book or a series is an interesting one. Maybe I have a kill switch that flicks whenever I come to the end of a story/line and which allows me to move on to the next book? Maybe that’s why I find the sequel proper more satisfying than the shortie (ie it gives me more meat to chew on)? Hmmm, I’m going to have to think more about this.
Are you reading my mind, Emmy?? I was thinking about the holiday stories that JM had done for the Heaven Sent boys when I wrote this post. It struck me as odd that I love the series, but am not interested in the shorts one iota. Same goes with the Pawprints Xmas story. Authors…prz to write something new now. thx.So basically we are both impatient bitches who want more new stories?? Works for me. LOL.
Not reading your mind, no. Was just the first thing I thought of when I read that. It’s my ADD sparking that limits my attention to a series. Even with novel length, it’s very rare for me to stick with a series for more than 4 books (Robert Jordan is the only one who comes to mind). After that, it just becomes the author milking a few characters who sold for them in the past and I’m just not interested. Find another creative spark of genius and run that one into the ground too, why doncha?
*snort* True, very true.BTW, kudos to you for sticking with Robert Jordan. With all the circles within circles I got too dizzy and gave up after #5 or #6.
In answer to your question, Kris … yeah, I think it would bug me if readers fixated on one character or set of characters and just wanted more, more, MORE. Sooner or later, we all have to move on. But there are readers like that, and there are authors more than willing to accommodate them. Think of Laurell K. Hamilton. Holy shit. Her reeking Anita Blake series has stretched into, what, something like 18 books now? I wanted to see that bitch killed off in the second one. Can you spell OCD? (Well, yeah, I guess you can. It isn’t exactly multisyllabic!)I agree with Emmy. A series shouldn’t go beyond three to five books and maybe a character interview or two. Beyond that, an author is getting into LKH territory–a place where we should all fear to tread!
I personally haven’t seen too many of these so I’m not sure I can give too much to the conversation. That being said I think a novella length story is worth the read on the characters. If it’s a short then I think the author should put it up free on their site so you can get a “taste” for them…rather than just selling shorts. Although lately I’ve been buying shorts *coughbecauseofevilKriscough* hmmm….
Ok, it’s before 8am here, so this might not be too coherent…I think it depends on the characters and the authors as to whether I want to read more about them. Like you, I don’t buy or read the shorts other than the ones I come across in anthologies and I have a very cynical reason for this. These stories are usually very short and yet cost a lot of money in comparison to the word count. On one hand I appreciate that the authors are giving the fans what they want – ie. further insights into the lives of beloved characters – and yet on the other hand they are somewhat taking advantantage of those readers by asking them to put out £2-3 for something that can be as short as 5,000 words. Cynical: It’s my middle name.I do often read the shorts put out free on author websites, especially if I really loved the book and the characters. KA Mitchell put out a number of short prequels to Collision Course before it was released and I really enjoyed those because I liked the character of Joey. I’ve also enjoyed the stuff put out on the Fiction with Friction site (although I have to admit I’ve not read most of the books associated with those characters).The only author I can think of where I’ve deliberately bought a SS based on her characters is Jordan Castillo Price and the ones she produced about Crash.
BTW, my kids loved your lolcat :).
I'm probably looking at this question the wrong way but…sometimes I really wish authors would continue the story with novellas. I've been reading Kate Douglas' Wolf Tales series. My favourite characters are Tala, Mitch & AJ…and they seem to keep popping up in the anthologies. So now I'm stuck with whether to buy two anthologies for two novellas…and I'm not even sure if they are the focus of said novellas! GRRRRRRRSorry. Rant over now.
Gosh, really interesting, this one, because (i) I’m planning a short freebie for the world I wrote about in The Gold Warrior/Twisted Brand, and I also have a sequel novella for Sparks Fly languishing in my WIP!! *clare peers at them thoughtfully*As a reader, the short ‘side scenes’ aren’t that interesting for me unless I adore the characters, like JCP’s (as per jenre). Also, if the author is good, even shorts will progress the characters and add value.But on the other hand, some of the shorts remind me of the fanfiction premise – just more of the same, appealing to existing fans of the characters rather than new readers for the author’s writing. Often very pleasant and entertaining, but not giving me anything new or stimulating, or tempting me in. And I don’t mean ANY disrespect to anyone with that comment!As an author, yes, shorts distract me from other, longer projects. I like to use shorts to investigate new ideas or characters that I don’t think will support a full novel. It’s absolutely great if someone wants more of my guys, but it doesn’t often turn on my Muse like the thought of new ones!Mind you, I feel the same meh-way about the deleted scenes on DVDs. Weren’t they deleted for some decent reason in the first place LOL?! I’m just a grumpy old git.^_^
I like them. I’m not sure I seek them out but if I liked the characters in a book its a chance to just say hi again without rereading the book. I suppose its like most things, some people like to see a revisit, like movies made after a TV series ends. Some people just like to have wrapped up and ended and others like to have a new taste of an old favorite.
K Z: I gave up on AB because of all the gratutious sex. If I wanted pron I would buy it, but if you gonna wrap it up and sell it at $20-$30 a pop at least give me a story!I’l glad that you said you would be annoyed because it would seriously buy the crap out of me if I was in that position… if I had the ability to write more than a post that is. *snort*Tracy: Hey, did I force those stories down your throat?? Well, did I?? NO! *coughbookslutcough*Jen: That’s not cynicism, honey. That’s being a skinflint, Mrs Greedy-for-Freebies. Having now taken this piss out of you, I can admit I tend to agree with you. My eyebrow flies up whenever I see another random short for sale. In some places they can be quite expensive and they are usually very popular.BTW, I’m glad your kids liked the lolcat. He’s such a cutie. 🙂
Orannia: I’m with you on the grrr. I always – but it’s an effort I assure you! – manage to talk myself out of buying an anthology if I’m only interested in one of the stories because it’s part of a series I follow. I think a short that forms part of a series is different – it is for me anyway. As is a short that might focus on the secondary characters of a story/series that you enjoyed. For example the first Anna and Charles (Alpha and Omega) story by Patricia Briggs, which was part of Mercedes’ world and appeared as a novella in an anthology. Does that make sense??Grumpy Clare: Short freebie follow ups = thumbs up. New shorts with new characters = two thumbs up. Not a short but a sequel (especially for the awesome Sparks Fly = Hell Yes!I see JCP’s shorts that follow Crash differently because previously he had been a secondary character and now the new story focuses on him as the main character. Bah! I’m getting snoozy so am not explaining myself very well, but because we don’t always get to know secondary characters having a story that provides insight to them/allows the reader to discover their journey (I think) is not the same as (bluntly) just cranking out same-old same-old.If (I had any talent and) I was an author I think I would also be worried about falling into a trap where readers come to expect shorts and when I eventually got sick to death of doing them and told everyone that I wasn’t going there anymore… well, I imagine there could be a backlash from some. Fans, who needs ’em! ;)Tam: True. I guess I was just interested in hearing others opinions because the random short is not a place I tend to visit myself. Different strokes, I guess. 🙂