View Full Version : Interconnected Stories

Lost World
05-01-2010, 08:02 PM
Of the nine short stories/novellas I've written over the last eighteen months, four are connected in some way. Some share characters, or mention is made of a character or event in another story. I am not speaking of a serial (though I have one in mind, starring two characters who have appeared in another of my stories). An incomplete novel also ties into these four stories.

This phenomenon didn't occur on purpose...they just kind of turned out that way, and they all tie together to form an interesting web, though not an actual story. More like a sketchy history of events in my fictional world. The five stories that are not connected to the others easily could be, but are stand-alones for now, and perhaps they always will be, I couldn't really say.

Just wondering if anyone else's stories fall into a similar pattern. If so, do you do it by design, perhaps as a vehicle for telling a larger story; or did it just happen that way? Or do you always write stories that stand alone?

Henri Bauholz
05-01-2010, 08:26 PM
Many of my stories come in bunches. In fact I have so many that I was able to weave a large group together and create a novel. I even wrote some new stories and tweaked some other tales in an attempt to make the whole thing come together. No success on a buyer yet, but the manuscript has made it a few steps up the ladder.

My Blog (http://yeyeright.wordpress.com)

05-01-2010, 08:55 PM
It's been happening to me too, and not by design. I just finished a short story and one of the supporting character has such a strong voice and interesting background I plan to write another short with her as the star.

So if you don't do it by design, you must have fallen in love with those characters. They're so interesting you want to keep following them.

An example of interconnected characters by design is the Marvel Comics Universe. Characters appear in each other's titles, and sometimes big story arcs involve dozens of characters. So you might want to consider connecting all your characters to tell a big, rich, multi-layered story in the future.

05-02-2010, 07:58 PM
I've written 3 Quentin Dallas, PI stories (1 accepted, 1 in the hands of a publisher) thus far with another 2 sitting on the sidelines. I've also written a space opera sequence set in the same universe (3 shorts plus a novel WIP). I also have a novel WIP sequence slated for 4 stand-alone books featuring the same set of characters (first written with a partial in the hands of a publisher as I write).

I think readers enjoy stories set in the same universe with recurring characters because they are better able to identify with those characters over time. The Hardy Boys, Harry Potter, Twilight, and Nancy Drew books, TV shows like CSI, Fringe, Star Trek, etc. show proof that this is true.

Lost World
05-03-2010, 11:18 PM
I think a lot of it has to do with wanting to build a rich world, along the lines of the cliched "This thing is bigger than all of us". Having characters, events, and locations connected and building upon one other without said characters realizing why they are who they are lends an epic proportion to the entire series.

05-04-2010, 05:22 AM
All of my stories (http://astonwest.com/works_shorts.html) (so far) run in the same universe with the same main characters.

05-11-2010, 12:42 AM
I have couple of stories that are stand-alone shorts. But they are prequel/sequel to some of the worst writing I've done.

I guess I'm trying to tell a story of a world and hope that my writing improves at some point.

05-30-2010, 12:40 PM
I have three stories that takes place on a same ship on the same voyage. Each story has a different POV. It all happened in an accident, and I really liked how it turned out.=)

05-31-2010, 06:07 AM
Happened to me, too. I didn't even realize that several of my stories were set in the same place until I read over one and found a small reference to an organization from a previous story.

My subconscious is more clever than I am.

06-22-2010, 12:09 AM
A number of my short stories are set in the same place and are starting to run together to tell a larger story about that place. Even the story I'm working on at the moment, which I intended to be a stand-alone piece, has ended up being in the same "world" with some characters from previous stories making appearances.

I find it fun to have a character from one story crop up in another, it helps to make the experience richer and rewards people who have read the previous story.

Kate Thornton
06-22-2010, 12:16 AM
I write a series which of course has the same characters popping in and out, but the majority of my works are unconnected to each other. In choosing a set of 20 stories for a collection, I am running up against similarities in voice (separate these stories!) and in plotline (ditch the duplicates!)

I have also discovered an unfortunate penchant for naming characters variations of the same few names (use that search-and-replace!)

And I write about one character frequently because I like her and have developed her backstory so that I can make her into a sort of series character without consciously writing a series.

Katrina S. Forest
06-22-2010, 12:54 PM
I have a couple stories set in the same universe - the MC from one story made a cameo in a later one, but for the most part, the characters are different every time. I just love the world, and it's a nice place to return to when I'm stuck for ideas.

06-22-2010, 02:34 PM
Stephen King does this with his settings in Maine. Certain fictional towns appear over and over again. He will often reference his own stories.

08-19-2010, 11:12 PM
Stephen King does this with his settings in Maine. Certain fictional towns appear over and over again. He will often reference his own stories.

The day I realised that he was also reusing characters (namely Flagg) I had to go back and reread everything he'd written to date, just to see if there was anything I'd missed. There was.

He gets a lot of stick, and has written some complete tosh, but when he's on form that man is incredible.

Stijn Hommes
08-20-2010, 01:37 AM
It hasn't happened to me yet, but I see a large measure of similarities between my very first original character and the MC of my in progress novel. They hang around with the same type of people and even though one lives in Australia and the other in the UK, it's not unthinkable they could meet. A very interesting thought... I wonder who would be the first to solve the crime and if they'd be interested in helping each other out.

Port Iris
08-20-2010, 06:43 AM
Stephen King does this with his settings in Maine. Certain fictional towns appear over and over again. He will often reference his own stories.

That doesn't even scratch the surface of the interconnectedness of King's canon. Just read the Dark Tower series, and you'll come to realize.

To the topic: I have a few short stories and a few more planned out that came about from world building for a future novel project. Each was written to stand alone but give some extra color to the project as a whole.

08-21-2010, 10:10 PM
I have a sort of meta-setting where all my fantasy stories take place, in one milieu or another. But stories that share a world often cross-reference each other, and every novel I've worked over the past two years has referenced at least one of my short stories in the same universe.