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Writing for Anthologies


Valkyrie

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I wrote my first anthology story for GA for the summer 2014 anthology, The Backup Plan.  It was the start of my Max and Elliot series and hooked me on writing short stories.  I’ve participated in every anthology since then, sometimes with multiple submissions, for a total of 27 stories.  I’m planning on keeping the streak going with the upcoming Anniversary anthology with at least one story. 

I thought I’d give some insight as to why I continue writing for all the anthologies and the process I go through when deciding what to write.  I’d love to hear from other anthology participants, past and present, about their process as well. 

First, I love writing to a theme and seeing what interpretation I come up with and also reading other authors' take on the same theme.  The diversity, imagination, and creativity displayed in the anthos never ceases to amaze me.  Another reason I participate is to give back to a site that’s given so much to me. 

Writing anthology stories is a great way for an author to introduce themselves to readers.  As a reader, I may not want to start reading a multi-chapter story written by an author I’m not familiar with, but reading a short story introduces me to their style, and may hook me as a long-term reader if I like what I see. 

As an author, I like to use anthologies to hone skills I can use when working on longer stories.  When I first started writing, I was most comfortable using first person.  I decided I wanted to become more comfortable writing in third person, so I wrote some anthology stories in third person.  I’ve also used antho stories to work on descriptive writing (such as Escape and Jus Sanguinis). Sometimes I ask myself a question and then use an anthology story to explore that question.  For example, I wondered what it would be like to be reincarnated and how it would affect other people, so I wrote Born Again. Other questions I’ve had have been more hard-hitting, such as how someone’s life is affected by false accusations, and what happens to someone convicted of a heinous crime, who then has to navigate the world after paying their debt to society.  I’ve also written from the point of view of a stalker and explored what happens when a gay man falls for his straight, female best friend.  I find my more controversial stories tend to get the most views and most comments from readers. 

Not every story has to be a controversial gut-punch, though.  A well-written, feel-good story linked to the theme is a winner every time.  So let’s hear what draws you, as either an author or a reader, to participate in the anthologies. 

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Once you have a final version, you post it, leaving it unpublished. Share a link to it in the forum thread, and staff will do the rest. Piece of cake.

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2 hours ago, Mancunian said:

I've got something that I'd like to submit for the current one but I'm still unsure on how to go about it.

Hi - yes, submitting to an antho can be quite daunting if you're not used to it. Val's produced a 101 'how to' guide here:

 

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2 hours ago, Mancunian said:

I've never submitted anything for the anthologies, mainly because I'm thick and can't get my head around the full process to post one. I've got something that I'd like to submit for the current one but I'm still unsure on how to go about it. I understand how to forward a submission to @Valkyrie, it's the process after that I can't get my head round (like I said I'm thick like that, lol)

Carlos and northie both posted great answers, but I'm happy to help you through the process once you're ready to post.  It's the same as posting a regular story; the only difference, as Carlos stated, is that you will leave it unpublished.  An admin will move it into the correct category and then publish it once the anthology goes live.  Feel free to send me your story for proofing any time, along with any questions you might have.  

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Mancunian

Posted (edited)

I've forwarded it, fingers crossed 🤞 crossed I've done things right.

Edited by Mancunian
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As a reader and regular member, I just wanted to say that your essay and the one Carlos wrote on marketing are both full of excellent reasons for writing for an anthology.  As a reader I value these stories for all the reasons you mentioned.  I came to the realization that these short stories were the spawning ground for some of the most enjoyable novels I have read on GA.  These stories may not be immediate sources of those novels, but the characters created for them seem to nag at many authors, sometimes for years, until a book gets written.  I also like to see the authors I like explore different genrés.  It is fun for me to see the authors I like playing with a new toy.  

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