So for example, in the Victorian era, the character Sexton Blake first appeared in a short story, and progressed (in the hands of many different writers) through novels, comic strips, stage plays, radio adaptations, and eventually movies and TV series. (many decades later!)

I'm wondering if the same thing could ever happen today. Does anyone know of any contemporary short stories which eventually, through whatever path of adaptations, became the source material of films or TV shows. Doesn't matter if the exact story wasn't adapted - just the character or world or any other recognisable aspect being preserved in the final adaptation will do.

Any genre is fine - historical, detective, horror, fantasy, scifi - perhaps something by Stephen King, or a literary detective such as Morse or Rebus (I don't think either of those started as a short story). Or a 'world' is fine, e.g. something like Terry Pratchett's Discworld (which started as a novel so doesn't count).

Over to you!!

UPDATE Brokeback Mountain is a great suggestion of a contemporary short-story-to-film journey ... can anyone come up with a short-story-to-TV equivalent?

  • This is off topic, as it's both a list question and not about writing or a related field. Closing, but I'd suggest looking at our site tour. There's a Movies and TV site that might help you, but you'll need to focus the question to ask it there. – Goodbye Stack Exchange Oct 15 '15 at 2:36

"Brokeback Mountain" is a short story from Annie Proulx which became a major film.

Sherlock Holmes appeared in 56 short stories, and has reportedly been played on TV more than any other single character.

Stephen King's book Different Seasons has four novellas, three of which became movies: "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" became The Shawshank Redemption, "Apt Pupil" became Apt Pupil, and "The Body" became Stand by Me. (I'm going to assume you don't count Creepshow because it adapted several King stories.)

ETA Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" has spawned both films and the current TV series Sleepy Hollow, with Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks for the suggestions - Brokeback Mountain is a great one. Not so sure about Sherlock Holmes - he was introduced in a novel (A Study In Scarlet), or the King novellas (am looking for short story examples really) - Creepshow sounds interesting though, I'll look into that. All the best, MB – Monkeybrain Oct 14 '15 at 10:08
  • @Monkeybrain It's true that A Study in Scarlet introduced Holmes and Watson to the world at the time of publication, but in subsequent decades not everyone's first exposure to the characters is that novel (particularly with the boring Mormon digression in the middle). Many people are introduced via one of the short stories. My first Sherlock Holmes story was "The Red-Headed League." – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Oct 14 '15 at 13:01
  • Fair enough! I guess I'm really looking for recently published (last 20 years?) short stories that have had an impact way beyond their initial publication, ie being turned into a series of novels, or ideally a TV or Film, and probably my initial question was poorly phrased in this regard. Obviously it's unlikely nowadays that this would happen unless the writer was already well known (e.g. Proulx or King) but I'm just interested to look out any examples. But thanks for suggesting Sleepy Hollow. And I agree The Red Headed League is superior to A Study In Scarlet!. :-) – Monkeybrain Oct 14 '15 at 13:18

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.