The Fix-Up Novel

In science fiction and in literary fiction there is a particular kind of novel called the fix-up novel. Basically it is a collection of short stories that form a narrative arc, loosely connected by framing devices between the stories. Think Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson or To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Phillip Jose Farmer. One of my favorites is Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving into the Wreck.

A fix-up novel is generally made up of stories pulled together that are already published or that weren’t written to become a novel.

Recently I started reading a hot romance that is constructed as a fix-up novel. It’s basically ten short stories plus a beginning and connective tissue at the beginning of each story. It uses a plot device of gifted artwork to pull it all together. It is absolutely clear to me that this was written as a single piece, but in the format of a fix-up novel. It’s fascinating as a structure and I really like how it came out.

Next year will be a novel year for me (once the short story a week is complete). As I see the expert way these fix-up novels are handled, I’m wondering whether I should write a fix-up novel set in Thule or Argosy. I am already comfortable writing short stories there. Perhaps that is the way into this for me. It would also be an interesting way to finish out the Great Challenge of writing a short story a week.

The wonder of writing is that there is no right way to do anything. Everything is artistic choice. I hope your choices are bearing fruit for you.

Be well, friends!

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