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What's in a Theme?



Themes can make or break an anthology, as our recent Anniversary anthology showed.  The theme spoke to a lot of site authors and exceeded my challenge to have twenty stories for GA’s twentieth anniversary.  The next few anthology blogs will be focusing on theme selection, writing for a theme, and submitting ideas for next year’s anthology.  I’m excited to announce we have a guest blog post for next week.  CassieQ has written a great article about how to write for a theme, so be sure to check it out next Thursday. 

So, what makes a great anthology theme?  It needs to be broad, concise, and open to interpretation.  Anniversary is a perfect example of this.  There are many different types of anniversaries, as the stories featured showed.  When I say concise, I mean it needs to be between one and three words.  Here at GA, we limit the theme to a maximum of three words because it gets too clunky otherwise, and we risk losing the broadness of the theme.  On the Road is one of our past themes which fits the above criteria.  Now imagine if had been On the Road – Tales from Vacation. Still open to multiple interpretations, but far less broad.  Now how about On the Road – Tales from Vacation in France. Very limiting, and also difficult to fit onto a banner. 

In the past, we’ve featured two themes per anthology, and recently started offering potluck themes as well, which gave authors a larger variety to choose from.  I’d like to hear thoughts about how many themes authors would like to have for the anthology.  Keep in mind that our anthologies are inclusive, not exclusive, so the theme does not need to hit the reader over the head.  A tangential link to the theme is just fine.  Cassie will go into more detail about this next week. 

I’ve created two polls to get opinions about next year’s anthology(ies).  Please check them out to help the anthology team decide if we are featuring one or more anthologies, and also how many themes those anthologies will encompass. 




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  • Site Administrator

Thanks @Valkyrie , @CassieQ and everyone else working on supporting the Anthologies.  We put a lot of effort into it and we appreciate the feedback.  Working together with this stuff makes it better for everyone!

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@Valkyrie The theme for the last anthology was fun and open-ended, I am only one story short of reading all the stories (Primal Park will be the last one and everyone knows I like Sci-Fi/Fantasy :)so that one I am savoring ). Several writers, myself included, were really captivated by the concepts surrounding anniversaries, because it was a universal concept. 

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