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  • When does an old story become a new one?
    by TassieDevil at 11:14 on 04 June 2014
    I posted this on Women's Fiction yesterday but in retrospect I need to have feedback from a wider 'audience'.

    I've often wondered about this. If you have a story published then (presumably) it's ineligible for comps and publication elsewhere in some cases. So if after rewrites, when does this story become a new story in it's own right? 
    Title change? Change of MC? Change of underlying concept? change from Ist to 3rd viewpoint?
    Quite often, I start a story the same way then digress in two or three directions to include ghosts, murders, twist. 
    Or is this alteration so subjective that people submit a new story with one word change and that's okay?
    I'd be interested in any input here. Thanks in anticipation,
  • Re: When does an old story become a new one?
    by NMott at 18:24 on 04 June 2014
    Presumably when it's a new plot. Even with title changes, name changes, and 1st-3rd pov changes, any reader is going to recognise the same plot. 
  • Re: When does an old story become a new one?
    by TassieDevil at 21:11 on 04 June 2014
    Hi NMott,
    Your welcome suggestion sounds logical in itself but I was wondering if there were some standard definition as even the same plot might be so vague that numerous stories could be written using it. Midsummer Murders springs to mind where the overall plot remains the same with victim names and methods of death varying.
    I'm not trying to be awkward here and I thank you for this input but it's something I can't get my little head around. 
  • Re: When does an old story become a new one?
    by Catkin at 00:15 on 05 June 2014
    I don't think there is one absolute, recognised answer, Alan. I think in some cases, it's just a matter of opinion.

    A few years ago, there were questions asked about a story that placed in a major competition. Someone spotted that a very similar story by the same author had won in another, much smaller, competition, and pointed this out to the organisers of the major competition. I have read both stories (or both versions of the same story, depending on how one looks at it), and there are bits that are identical - including the most significant elements of the plot and the main event of the story - and bits that are completely new. The major competition organisers looked at it again, and decided that it was OK - it was a new story, as far as they were concerned. Personally ... well, I wouldn't have entered the second story/version myself.
  • Re: When does an old story become a new one?
    by TassieDevil at 04:10 on 05 June 2014
    Appreciate your views, Catkin.

    It is what I suspected which does, in a way, make statements that a submission is a new story somewhat meaningless. 'New' is such a subjective viewpoint. Obviously I can see that someone who sails too close to the wind, might then earn themselves the ire of the writing community and their peers/friends.

    the joys of trying to do the right thing. Sigh!
  • Re: When does an old story become a new one?
    by EmmaD at 09:47 on 05 June 2014
    Ooh, that is tricky isn't it. I've no direct experience because I don't write a lot of shorts, but Catkin's point makes sense...
  • Re: When does an old story become a new one?
    by TassieDevil at 10:35 on 05 June 2014
    Thanks Emma.

    To be truthful I was considering entering a favourite story of mine called Rainz albeit heavily reworked with 1500 words instead of the original 900.

    I first wrote it 10 years ago but it wasn't a story in the conventional sense as there was no change in the unnamed M C who had had a stroke. It is actually being published in it's earlier form this month in the UK.

    However I've learnt a lot in those ensuing years and was unsure if the new version which has much more characterisation and motivation would be different enough.

    After consideration and input from my colleagues here, I've decided to submit it elsewhere and not to a comp with it's restrictions on previous publication. 

    I'm quite proud of the story as it is very emotive and is unsuitable for my usual Womag or Children markets.

    Thank you all for your advice. In retrospect, I'd made my decision not to submit before this posting. I suppose I just needed to have my decision vindicated as I'm quite sure that some other competition entrants don't have the same reservations that I do.