With Anomaly Con, I recently came across an author who was writing a very interesting short story about a vampire pirate with a lovable crew of hodge-podge characters, all set steampunk. It was amazing! I always was worried that something as short as her book wouldn’t be able to engage with a reader very well, that things would move too fast for there to ever be a love for any of the characters. But she did it. And I was so hooked, I was upset that there was only one book. I bought it last year. At Mile Hi con late last year, I ran into the author again and inquired if she was ever planning on expanding her universe. She had other books, but about dogs and horses and nothing steampunk. It would be an understatement to say that I was excited to hear that she had a sequel in the works about one of the youngest members of the pirate ship. I made sure that this con when I picked up the book, that I got it autographed and voice just how much I loved her series. Here’s to hoping that she makes some more! The author is J A Campbell and the books are Serpent Queen and Pint-Sized Trouble.
But seeing how successful her short stories were, and that so many other people were asking about sequels, I started to wonder… I have Bloody Notes coming out soon [A little update on that coming at the end of the blog], and I was wondering if maybe I should do some short stories like this to introduce some of the other characters in a little more detail. Maybe a small book about Vanessa in the gang before Bloody Notes takes place, or some of the history of Leon and his family. Or perhaps a short story about little Thomas that takes place during Bloody Notes, but off to the side, something that shows how he is growing.
I was so focused on hitting my word count when I originally wrote my novel, that I hit most of the detail on just Vanessa and Leon. I barely talk about the gang members other than Rich and Thomas. Hell, I barely even give any life to the servants in Leon’s house. The police captain is just “Captain,” he doesn’t even have a proper name. But as I go through the novel again for any possible last minute revisions, I am trying to find places I can add details that maybe I was skipping over in order to meet my deadline. But I’m finding it very difficult to add anything other than actually giving Captain a name.
And that’s where they short stories would come in. I also hope that maybe if someone picks up the short story first, they could fall in love with the characters and want to read more, to come back and pick up the main novel.
It’s something I tried once upon a time. Ages ago, when I was writing one of my fantasy stories, I had started actually with the short story of one of my main/side characters (She was a main character, mentioned quite a bit, but otherwise didn’t show up very often). As I worked on the main fantasy story, I started getting ideas for more of her story, but it just didn’t fit in with what I was writing. She had her own adventures and dilemmas on the side that she had to take care of, so her side stories were about that. In the end, I think she was the best developed character. As much as I loved the actual main character in my fantasy story, I loved writing her.
We’ll see how things go between Bloody Notes getting published, and if I get into a sequel for it. Perhaps it will help me to develop the characters before getting into the sequel.
On the side note of being published… I just sent my first query letter earlier this week for my novel! To an actual publisher! I’m sitting here and crossing my fingers, but I’m still not really sure how things will go. After getting the contact info from a customer at work, I’m hoping a little that maybe he gave the publisher a heads up, and I only got the contact info because she was interested in it.
Wish me luck, guys!