WIROB: “Unfinished Business”

My column this month for the Washington Independent Review of Books looks at the publication of books left unfinished by their authors—though in some cases completed by other authors or editors later. The piece was prompted by three books, including both the fun collection The Greatest Books You’ll Never Read and then two books coming out this summer after their author’s deaths: Forever and a Death by Donald Westlake and The Painted Queen, the final novel from Elizabeth Peters as completed by Joan Hess.

At the same time I’m excited by all these books—and really enjoying the Westlake now that I have it in hand!—my thoughts on this turned from a reader’s perspective to a writer’s as well. Here’s an excerpt from halfway through the post:

But anticipating Westlake’s and Peters’/Hess’ books and browsing through The Greatest Books You’ll Never Read has me thinking in another direction: As a writer, how would I feel about someone reading through or, worse, publishing the manuscripts from my youth or my notes for stories or some partially finished first draft? I certainly don’t anticipate anyone clamoring for stray scraps of my fiction (I have trouble enough selling the stories I do finish!), but at the same time…

Read the full post here at the Washington Independent Review of Books.

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