Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Blathering On

So, Winter’s Regret has been out for a few weeks now. Hopefully, you bought it, read it, and liked it. Hopefully, you liked my story, “An Unexpected Reunion.” Being somewhat brain dead this week, I thought I’d share a little about how that story came about. I don’t think there will be any great revelations here, but perhaps it will interest you. If not, have a nice weekend, and maybe I’ll have a little more functionality next week.

Back in a time that’s embarrassingly-long ago, an idea was born, an idea that grew into a manuscript I have mentioned here far too many times (hint: it’s called PARALLEL LIVES). During the first two or three months I was drafting that novel, I was on fire. It seems new ideas and scenes were popping into my head constantly. It was almost like living with a movie or tape recorder inside my skull. Whatever else I was doing, the story was playing out, and when I had writing time, I was essentially transcribing what I had seen/heard/thought earlier.

At some point, the ideas dried up, but that was fine, because the story itself had run its course. And I did have a story (I should point out that a lot of these scenes just seemed to play out in my head independently of what had come before or what might come after; they were just … scenes). But I also had too much. There were some scenes that were, functionally speaking, duplicates of other scenes. And some scenes that just didn’t fit the way I thought they would when I first wrote them. Finally, there were some that I thought had to come out just because the thing was too long. “An Unexpected Reunion” fell into this category. I liked the chapter as it stood in the manuscript, but on further review, it wasn’t essential. Out it came.

The tough part of turning that excerpt of a deleted chapter into a stand-alone short story was the fast that I still have plans on getting its parent published. So, I could have changed the names of the characters so they weren’t people represented in the original manuscript and pretended it was its own thing, but I really didn’t want to do that. Instead, I had to find a way to leave it open enough that, should (when) PL gets published, it all makes sense, but with enough of a story and conclusion that it leaves readers satisfied. I think I managed to do that.

That’s it for me, hope you all have a nice weekend.

Hey! Because I’m always bad at this, if you’re interested in buying Winter’s Regret, it can be found

At Amazon or Smashwords or Createspace. Enjoy!

6 Responses

  1. I've written a few short stories that are part of the world of my novel. One of them is in an anthology a bunch of us did to help a fellow blogger's son. In that one, I didn't use any character names so I wouldn't give anything away in the novel. I think it's a great idea to take a deleted scene and round it out into its own story.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  2. Your writing process fascinates me. I'm a plodder – er – plotter. (No, really it's plodder.) But you're so impulsive and full of enthusiasm! That must be exciting. Good luck on getting Parallel Lives into shape! 🙂

  3. I've used back stories of my characters and turned them into short stories. Some good, some not so good. It helped me understand my characters in any case! It' s nice that you got to share a cut scene and didn't have to throw it out.

  4. L.G.–that's a good approach to take. I remember that anthology–I hope it did well.
    Lexa—I suspect the chief difference between a plotter and a wingman is that wingmen do their plotting in skull, plotters do it on paper. There's a fair degree of in-brain sorting out that happens before I sit down to write. And thanks!
    Stacy-thanks! Sometimes we have to cut good stuff–might as well use it!
    Sheena-kay–thank you!
    Carrie–thank you, Carrie. How CAN you keep up? You're way too busy! (well, maybe not TOO busy)

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