Link It Together

On her blog, Erika Dreifus looks at linked story collections (several stories with similar characters/locations/themes/etc.). How can they be written and evaluated in comparison to novels or collections of separate short stories? She quotes Junot Diaz:

“I’ve always conceptualized linked collections as these wonderful Lagrange points between the story collection and the novel. In them there’s this weird bit of space—again not as much as in a novel, but more than a standard collection—from which wonderful stuff can be spun, stuff that neither the traditional novel nor the traditional story collection can generate. A fascinating patch of liminality that writers haven’t done quite enough with, in my opinion.”

YA and children’s literature has a limited amount of short stories in general, let alone linked short stories*. I wonder if a collection of linked short stories could work better than just a standard collection. Teen years are filled with so many facets and contradictions–maybe a series of linked stories could reflect that really well.

*Oddly enough, when I was a YA myself, I wrote a series of linked stories, even though I didn’t know that was what it was called at the time.

2 thoughts on “Link It Together

  1. Are all linked short stories supposed to stand on their own? I’ve been considering publishing a sequel to one of my short stories, but it’s just that–a sequel. You have to have read the first story to understand the second one.

    I also have “apocrypha” to my trilogy–short stories featuring multiple characters from the series–but, again, they’re meant to be read after reading one or more of the books.

    Either way, I like the concept of linked stories because I often fall in love with my secondary characters and I could definitely see me giving them their own story.

    My husband likes Robert B. Parker’s novels, and Parker moved some secondary characters between his Spencer and Jesse Stone novels, giving them a vague link. My husband likes that, because it creates a sense of a much larger world than only one series creates, and he likes seeing those secondary characters again, too.

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