A question for you

I come to you with a question. A few years ago, I had a short story published through an e-zine. Since then, the magazine ceased to exist, although the site is still up. My story was featured in the last issue they published. No one could access the story unless they paid to read the issue. That was back in 2014. Pretty much what any print magazine does. Pay to read. As far I know, even today, one can only read an excerpt of that story, but needs to pay a subscription to read the rest.

The story is related to my upcoming debut novel, The Darkening. In fact, they are so closely related, they have the same title. Yeah, I know it’s not a good idea to do this in general, but I suck at coming up with titles.

Anyway, now that I’m redesigning my newsletter, I was thinking of using that short story as part of a reader magnet that will also include the first four chapters of my debut novel, and access to a short interactive story I designed. So three items in total.

But here’s the problem. My style has changed significantly since 2014. I improved considerably in these four years. As far as I’m concerned, that short story is not as good as it could be. It was good then, when I only had a year or so of writing experience. But if I were to write it now, it would be different. The story doesn’t resonate the same to my ears. I’m worried that if I let people read it the way it was published then, readers may get the wrong impression of my current writing skill and style. Of course, as I’ve told you before, I’m a perfectionist. Never satisfied with the quality of the material I produce. So it may all very well be in my mind.

So here’s the question to you, the more seasoned and knowledgeable writers: Have you ever had to rewrite a previously published story of yours for a new publication or to give it away to new readers? If so, how far is a writer allowed to go with new revisions/edits? Would such a thing create problems for the publisher of the original story? Would you even consider reusing or repurposing older material for new readers? Ultimately, am I right to be worried or am I worrying too much?

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4 Responses to A question for you

  1. khurtack says:

    Ultimately, I think you’re thinking too hard about it. Most of us tend to do this when it comes to older work. If you’re talking about going back and merely editing it for say passive voice and sentence structure, word repetition I think that makes sense. I’ve done that in the past. If you’re bothered by things like character development, plot, and ‘voice’ I would leave that alone, it is a short story after all. I would may be write a short intro saying it is an older piece, etc. Maybe explain why/how it influenced your novel, etc. I wouldn’t worry about the previous publisher since they no longer exist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. An intro note! That’s a good idea! Thanks, Kevin!!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree the demise of the old publisher makes re-use easier. But I’d pay attention to your feeling that it’s not as well written as you would do now. What I might do is use excerpts that I still liked as a teaser (“this was published when I was first starting out; here’s what expanded into the novel; check out the novel to get the real deal”). Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Ellen. That’s also a very good idea! It’s funny how as we evolve as writers, we stumble upon little things like that, isn’t it?


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