Adding Extra Features to Novels


I’m old enough to remember, as an adult, the shift from movies on VHF to movies on DVD. (In fact, I’m old enough to remember the world before VHS, but that’s beside the point.) DVDs were really for movie lovers, because not only did you have the movie itself, often in more than one language and with your choice of subtitles, you got to enjoy special features.

These days, when most of us have migrated from DVDs and Blue ray disks to digital downloads, those hard media are still popular with some. I assume it’s those who really enjoy watching the director’s cuts, commentaries, and deleted scenes.



I’m currently writing the second novel in my series, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed. The first book is Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, and it’s available on Amazon and Audible. The one I’m currently writing is Bodacious Creed and The Jade Lake.

One difference between the books is this. The first one shifts between different viewpoint characters to give readers a more complete view of everything that’s happening. For “Jade Lake,” I decided to stay in the head of James “Bodacious” Creed. Readers will know only what he knows.

However, there have been a few times that I thought it would be fun to show what’s happening behind the scenes, to other important characters. I decided I could write short stories about those incidents, but that I wouldn’t want people who hadn’t read the book reading them. By necessity, they’d be filled with spoilers. Yet the would give readers an expanded view of the novel. What could I do with this idea?

Then, it came to me. I could write a few such stories and add them to the end of the book. Once a reader has finished the tale, if they want to dig a little deeper, get to know some of the characters a little better, they could read these stories. They’re the equivalent of deleted or post-credit scenes.

I’m not sure how well this will work for a novel, and I’m not certain I’m going to do this. I do like the idea, if for no other reason than that it would give me an excuse to write these stories and share them in an appropriate, spoiler-free place.

What do you think? As a reader, is this something you’d like to see? As a writer, is this something you might like to try? Feel free to comment below. If you’d like to get notified when I share something new in this blog, subscribe to my newsletter below that.

“I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.” ~ Toni Morrison

3 thoughts on “Adapting a Video Concept to Books

  1. Jonathan,

    I’ve done something similar in the universe in which my steampunk novels take place. I’ve written short stories for a couple of anthologies centered around some minor characters from the novels. I’ve also written what I’ve dubbed an “Anteprologue”–a scene that takes place before the prologue in one of the books.

    I liken these to the little bits that used to be done on Doctor Who (especially when it was years between series), or the Marvel One-shots which were used to make connections between events that happened in the full movies.

    They also work well as a writing exercise!


    • Thanks for the feedback, Michael! I have a short story that’s a prequel to the first book in my series (if you’re on my newsletter, you probably have it already, and if not, feel free to subscribe), and a short short about an event mentioned in the first book, just 300 words long, appearing in the next Queer Sci Fi anthology, “Innovation,” next month. It really( It really is a fun exercise, and I find that my novels are a great source for discovering short story content.

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