I occasionally read reviews of my stuff (masochistic, I know) for any constructive criticism, and while not criticism per se a number of my shorter stories have comments that they’d like to see novels of the stories or characters.
[Side note: if you want to see these then reducing your review by a star could be counterproductive. Casual customers probably just glance at the overall rating first and possibly not bother to scan the review text where it says you’ve reduced your rating for this reason. That could mean fewer readers, and fewer readers means less of an audience for a novel, so less incentive for the writer to put time into the project. Not that I’m as bothered by the potential audience as I probably should be. I write what I feel like writing]
In general I write the stories at the length they want to be, and I don’t personally see the preference for novels over short stories. I suppose you get to spend longer with the story, but I find I prefer concision. This view may be influenced by being a writer (and I can’t remember my opinion on the point before I started writing, it feels like so long ago now), since I generally know more about the setting than actually appears, only using what’s necessary for the story.
Redoing short stories as novels is generally unlikely. I have done it with Grey Engines, but the short story it grew out of, Mind/War Games, didn’t really get finished (or have a title I was happy with) as the ideas for the setting continued to grow. Short stories I’ve released are fairly fixed for me, so redoing them as longer pieces does not feel like it’d add anything.
Continuing the story or setting in a longer work is more likely, but depends on inspiration (Silent Echoes is one I’m intending doing a longer piece for, as I’ve got far more about the setting and magic system than was used for the story). And a gap in my workload, which currently has the next four or so novels roughly lined up. If an idea occurs strongly enough I might push things in (see below), but there’s also a number of ideas I have already percolating in the background.
A few of the Tales of the Thief-City series of short stories have had these requests for a novel, but there are a couple of factors arguing against it:
- The Tales of the Thief-City series is finite, and while not a serial there is an underlying story, and I know roughly how it ends. It may not be the end of the setting, but another series (Streets of the Thief-City, possibly) would have a different viewpoint character (take that to mean what you like about Rax’s chances of surviving Tales, although given it’s a first person viewpoint it’d be difficult to end with his death. Not impossible though). A novel would have to avoid the ongoing storylines and not leave anything dangling, since I’m intending collecting the Tales series in print when it’s done so I’d rather have those stories form a coherent block. So how do I avoid it seeming inconsequential?
- I’m not sure the style will last over a longer piece of work. It was done with a pulpy feel in mind, and I try to keep the stories as tight as possible. A novel would need quieter patches, and I’m not sure whether it’d feel too different.
Which isn’t to say I won’t do it, and I have started making some notes (tentatively titled Dreams of the Dead). It’d see Rax dealing with elements of his backstory that don’t play into the main series, although I’m still not sure it’ll work self-contained.
If it coheres in time I may try and do it as part of NaNoWriMo this year. I’m currently in the early stages of outlining the main novel for NaNoWriMo (Grey Enigmas), but I rarely last the whole month with just one novel. Of course I was hoping to do a round of revisions on Glyphwar before November, but that can wait. It would mean I could reach December with three novels in progress that are all parts of other series, pushing back my next planned stand-alone novel (Warlike) nearer the middle of next year.