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View Full Version : Taking material from a novel for a short story.. may I????



aruna
02-29-2008, 05:47 PM
I have been asked to contribute to a volume of short stories. The deadline is actually over, but one of the editors has asked me to contribute and is giving me an extra month! It's the fourth in a series of anthologies, the first of which was number 4 on amazon.co.uk, and they are well reviewed. The story has to be on the theme of Global Village, up to 2500 words, and unpublished.

The thing is... I have never written a short story!

I am now wondering if I could do the following. I have three unpublished novels. Can I take a chapter or two from those books and develop them into a short story, by somehow condensing or manipulating the plot? I know I could do that. It's coming up with a short story from scratch that has me flummoxed.

And if I could take a chapter of the novel I am currently submitting, it would actually be great promotion. But may I??? Would that harm my chances of getting the novel published?

WendyNYC
02-29-2008, 05:50 PM
From what I understand, it wouldn't hurt your chances of getting published at all. In fact, it might actually help. Adapting a chapter into a short story is more difficult that it seems -- be warned. At least it is for me.

Congrats, by the way.

Chumplet
02-29-2008, 05:52 PM
Also, check the rights of the anthology. If you still want to use the elements of your short story for your current novel, there might be problems if you're not free to use it right away. I know some magazines accept portions of books and release 'first serial rights' or something like that.

The Scip
02-29-2008, 06:14 PM
Also, check the rights of the anthology. If you still want to use the elements of your short story for your current novel, there might be problems if you're not free to use it right away. I know some magazines accept portions of books and release 'first serial rights' or something like that.

i'd be interested if anyone finds any information on this. I have part of a novel that I am in the middle of that would stand up pretty well on its own and was actually thinking about submitting that portion of it as a short story. I have been looking around but can't find too much about converting part of a novel into a short story.

Red-Green
02-29-2008, 07:11 PM
For literary magazines, it's very straightforward. If you have a chapter/section of your novel that can stand alone--adequate character development and an encapsulated story arc--lit mags are happy to publish novel excerpts, taking only first serial rights for publication and re-releasing them to the author after publication. Any contract with a lit mag should make clear what rights they will be taking and when/whether those rights revert back to the author. Typically, lit mags do this automatically, but you should ask. Also typical is the need to then identify in the published novel, what sections were previously published and to give credit to the magazines in which they were published. Rarely, very rarely, would you be required to pony up anything to the lit mag.

It's essentially the same way poetry collections work. 90% of the time, when a poet publishes a poetry collection, many of the poems have been previously published in lit mags. When I worked at a lit mag, we had a standard "rights reversion" form to send people who were amassing a poetry collection or a story collection. The writer called, we sent the form, no hassles.

aruna
02-29-2008, 07:29 PM
Thanks to all who responded, very helpful. And yes, it is a literary mag, and some of my chapters could indeed be transformed into stand-alones.