I'm not sure if anyone will be able to relate to this post, but here it is. My collection, Bonded, is unique for me in the fact that it's three novellas that could easily stand alone, but will be published together. Because of this (and at the request of my publisher for when I submit the final copy to my editor), I recently dumped all three stories into one document. I feel like these books have to connect in more ways than before. They'll be read together, compared to each other, etc. They all take place in the same world although only a few characters cross over the stories and time periods - and only minor ones, at that.
If you've ever read Flannery O'Connor, you might understand how stories can interweave without actually being connected in plot or characters. Although I haven't read any O'Connor for years (I really, really need to pick her up again), I remember she did this connecting so well in her stories and novels that I feel like there's some secret town somewhere with all her characters living together. Way cool.
I want a similar feel for the three novellas in Bonded, but if they are ever published separately, I absolutely want them to stand alone. They are fairy-tale themed, and that connects them. Each of the main characters falls in love with an elf, and that connects them. They each explore vastly different themes, but do contain a few similar layers, and that might connect them. I guess my biggest frustration as I finish the third and last novella is how much do I really want to tie these stories together? How much do I want to go back and add little pieces that connect more dots? Or should I allow them to stand more freely as I originally wrote them?
It's not that I am worried so much about what my readers will want, but what will eventually satisfy my complete vision. The problem is that I don't know exactly what that complete vision is. Some writers seem to know concretely what they want before they even start. Me - I let things grow organically. I've reach a point, however, where I have to make some solid decisions with this book/stories/novellas, whatever this thing is. And, quite frankly, I'm stuck. I've been stuck on this decision for months. I've procrastinated by blaming this block on releasing my other book and having too many other things going on, but those are lame excuses. It all really just boils down to the fact that I can't decide what to do, and I need to decide soon.
I suppose the answer lies in the fact that if I'm a good enough writer, I will connect these stories in some brilliant way outside of what I've already done, but they will also remain completely separate. I wish I knew what I was doing...