too much or just enuf?

So I’ve been having this mental struggle lately, and I’ve tried getting a solid answer to my dilemma, but so far nothing.

One-Match Fire has 23 chapters (and 22 inter-chapter vignettes). Of those chapters, I’ve had ten published as stand-alone pieces in various lit journals. I’m happy about that. But I’ve begun to worry that this may have been too many.

My guess is that having some of a novel published early will help its chances to find representation and a publisher. Certainly I’ve seen paragraphs in the end pages of many novels that state that parts of the novel had appeared in print in slightly different form. So getting several chapters published would suggest that the parts are worthy and perhaps so is the whole.

But how much is enuf and how much is too much? I’ve had nearly half of the novel before readers’ eyes already. Would a potential agent think that so many parts of the work have already been out that there isn’t enuf of the whole left to make it worth pursuing? Is there a certain maximum percentage to these things?

I’ve talked to several of my writer friends. I’ve posted my question on a couple of forums. I’ve even written directly to agents to ask (though I don’t ever expect a response from them).

My gut (and a friend) tells me that I shouldn’t try to get any more of the novel published. There are two chapters that I think might be worthy, but I’m not going to shop them around any longer. (There are also three that are currently in circulation, so they may still appear in print.)

But another part of me thinks that if the novel itself were never published, these last few chapters that might be worth publication will languish and never be seen.

I don’t know.

__________

Here’s another random photo from the archives.

That’s from eight years ago, so Flike must not have been even a year old in the photo. That’s the corner of the cabin to the right, of course. And that area behind Flike is where I’ve been slinging gravel lately to make things a bit more level and to perhaps deepen the rock enuf to prevent at least some of the weeds from coming up through it.

Explore posts in the same categories: Fathers and Sons

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2 Comments on “too much or just enuf?”


  1. Literary journals are not exactly a hot commodity in the world at large. So I think having most of your chapters published is not a problem. But if your gut says stop, stop!


  2. It seems that so many rules are no longer rules. Or, at least that with some people the rules are up for questioning.

    Listening to a podcast that interviews literary authors (Otherppl), I hear so many stories about how writers finally got published. I’ve heard more than a couple, “I didn’t want to write the entire novel if it wasn’t going to be published, so I started a chunk and queried agents…”

    Others have had parts of their work published elsewhere.

    So I don’t think it will hurt you, even if you submit the last couple stories. It’s not like anyone is going to comb through your bibliography and track down every literary magazine you’ve had parts of the novel published. Or, if they do…that’s a dedicated fan who will buy the novel no matter what!


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