I remember when the movies Secondhand Lions and Clue were released on video and DVD, the extras included an alternate ending. Other movies regularly include deleted scenes, which can be pretty interesting.
Now Scribner’s is doing the same thing with Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms.” Apparently when Hemingway wrote the novel, which was published in 1929, it had 39 different endings. Scribner’s has released a new edition of the book that include all of the alternative ending plus some of the original drafts of key passages in the book. Plus, there’s Hemingway’s own introduction to the novel that he wrote for a 1948 reissue.
For a writer, this is an opportunity to look at how the creative ideas of a master of the craft evolve and are shaped into a spectacular piece of fiction.
It’s like having extras for a novel. I’m not sure if it has ever been tried before, but I think it’s a neat idea. I look forward to seeing how successful it is.