re: Should I Delete My Short Story from Wattpad When I Turn It Into a Novel?

in Creative Process/Publishing Biz/Submissions by

Dear Editor…

The novel I’m finishing is based on a short story I wrote last year, which won a medal in a Wattpad writing contest. Should I leave the story up or take it down since I’m planning on submitting the novel form? (The short story is basically the first two chapters of the book. . . but I’m already making revisions and improvements to those two chapters.)

Sincerely,
Wattpad Woman

Dear Wattpad Woman…

Leave the short story up while submitting your novel, at least, as proof of its medal status. Your future agent or editor may prefer you take it down when the novel goes into production because you’ve revised the story so much, but not necessarily. In pre-Internet days, published short stories that grew into full-length novels had no option to delete the original short story from existence. The two just existed simultaneously. That precedent prepared readers to understand and accept that there are differences between a novel and the short story that inspired it. Since you’re comfortable being on Wattpad in the first place and you’re confident in your short story despite the changes you’ve made for the novel, let your medal-winning story lead readers to your new novel.

Happy writing!
The Editor

2 Comments

  1. Deborah…huge thanks for posting this question and answer…it’s something I’ve run into after hosting the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge. I’ve always deleted the entries when an author requests it, but it’s good to know there are precedents for an author to leave them up.

    • Thanks for sharing this, Vivian. Contests are an important part of many writers’ publication journeys, and this is a frequent question for me as well. This is the angle I wanted to address with this Q-and-A. I know some people feel very strongly against publishing on Wattpad specifically because of plagiarism issues, which is another matter for another Q-and-A. But regarding Wattpad specifically, I feel that if you’re already comfortable publishing on it, then you should be comfortable leaving up the winning story.

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