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Story set on The Oregon Trail. Advice needed, please.

edited September 2017 in Writing
A few years ago I wrote a 50,000 word Pocket Novel for Woman's Weekly, which wasn't accepted. It was a romantic adventure story set on the Oregon Trail and I did a lot of research. I had thoughts about either re-writing it completely and submitting it elsewhere, or maybe picking out events and turning them into short stories - I've just had a different short story published by The People's Friend - but never got round to it. I've now seen that there is a very good short story in The People's Friend which is set on the Oregon Trail. So, I'm not sure what to do now. If I turn the events into short stories, I don't think The People's Friend will accept them if they've just published one with the same specific setting. At the same time, I feel that 50,000 words is a lot to abandon and I'd like to make use of all the hard work.

Should I re-write it completely and try again with the Pocket Novels, maybe to The People's Friend, as I feel comfortable with their requirements? I don't think the story was suitable for The People's Friend the first time round. Or continue the character's lives in a completely new story after they've reached Oregon? Any other ideas would be gratefully received.


  • edited September 2017
    The PF pocket novel is shorter than the MW ones anyway, so you'd have to do more cutting, which doesn't always work well. Theirs are 42.000 words, so a new story might work better.

    Looking at the current PN guidelines it says: 'Stories can be modern, wartime, even turn-of-the
    19th/20th century, and they can be set in Britain or abroad. '

    There's a lot of options for your 50,000 words.

    Does anyone know if the large print publishers are open to stories of that length?

  • Thanks, Carol. I'll have another look at it and decide what to do.
  • Oregon Trail suggests that it;s a western setting megrose, is that right?
  • I think you're right that if they've recently had an Oregon Trail short story they won't want another, but a Pocket Novel might well be different. I think it might be worth asking if they're interested before making a decision. No point redoing to suit them unless they're willing to consider it.

    Any chance it would suit Mills and Boon? It's the right length as it is, for them.
  • edited September 2017
    Thank you, snailmale. Yes, it's set in USA along the Oregon Trail in the 1850s. That's a a good point about asking PF if they're interested, Phots Moll. I'm not sure about Mills and Boon, but I'll definitely look into it. I hadn't thought of that.
  • The reason I asked was that a friend of mine,Diana Harrison has had several Westerns published by Robert Hale/Black Horse Westerns. C40000 words, published in hard covers.
    I think Black Horse might have changed their name but they are still operating in some way so it might be worth a look
  • That's really interesting to know, Snailmale and I'll look them up. Thank you.
  • I believe Black Horse Westerns were taken on by someone else after Robert Hale closed. But I'm sure if you Google them it will come up somewhere.
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