The simplest way to do it is the first way that works.
I don't know how you have things set up, but I would use a PageField.
My page tree would look like this:
Collections Collection 1 Story 1 (create a "story" template and add a new field to it using the PageField type. For the configuration I would choose multiplepages and checkboxes) Story 2 Story 3 Story 4 Story 5 Story 6 Editions (this template can be called "editions", then in the PageField configuration I can choose this as the parent.) Edition 1 Edition 2 Edition 3
Sorry I'm limited on time tonight and haven't explained this in detail, but hopefully this helps a little.