Most of you already know Lisa and Leslie, and their awesomeness is worth soaking up. So I thought we'd ask them a few questions about writing shorts stories and publishing an anthology.
Ready? Here goes: *dons Barbara Walters hat*
Me: How is writing short stories different and similar to writing full-length novels?
Leslie: If I may whip out a theatrical analogy - a short story is a one-act play and a novel is a piece long enough to require an intermission for a bathroom break. I find the immediacy of short stories much more intimidating. You have to do everything you do in a novel: craft fully realized characters, create conflict, build a world, toss all the chess pieces into action, and complete their arc in a compressed storytelling format. I appreciate the way a short story focuses on one strong thread, but I do miss the weaving of multiple layers/subplots that the length of a novel allows for.
Lisa: I started out writing short stories and poetry, so for me it's natural. It was the novel that scared me - until I did it! Nothing compares to the feeling of actually finishing a real book. But short stories are fun, they allow you to explore ideas and characters you might not otherwise take on. You have to get to the point and you can't really deal with subplots (though sometimes I sneak them in) and you are limited to how many characters you can really get into. But there have been several short stories that have given me ideas that later turned into full fledged novels.
Me: Did writing short stories beef up your novel writing skills? If so, how?
Lisa: ANY writing helps beef up novel writing skills. Not only does it force you to focus on streamlining plot and character, the publishing experience itself is an AWESOME lesson for any aspiring novelist. You work with editing and copy-editing, acquisitions, and even marketing.
Leslie: Oh, for the love of my grandmother's headcheese sandwich, yes. Talk about raising the stakes of accountability for every word. No slop, filter words, or superfluous adjectives allowed within the succinct form of a short story. They've given me a sharper eye to delineate between fluff and substance in my novels. The engine of a short story must keep revving through every word. I now refuse to accept anything less than that energy level in my novels.
Me: You both write for the Young Adult market, and this anthology is marketed toward adults. Was it tough to put on your "grown up" hat?
Leslie: I don't own a "grown up" hat. In fact the only hat I own is a Star Wars baseball hat. I'm too immature to cross all the way over to adulthood. My story would fall into the "new adult" category which is the transition from YA to adult.
Lisa: It was kind of fun! Though many of the stories in the anthology could be considered YA or YA crossover. My characters tend to be on the younger side (early twenties for example in BLACKOUT). But it's also neat to not hold back AT ALL. I never realized that I actually did until I wrote that one. But adults deal with issues that teens may not be so concerned with yet and vice versa. Though obviously there are many issues that overlap.
Me: What is your overall impression of crafting and publishing your own anthology? Any advice you can offer other writers?
Lisa: It was tricky at times, though Ian (Kezsbom) and Deborah (Pasachoff) did most of the hard stuff (formatting, etc.). We learned a lot from the experience though and I think the coolest part is actually having access to information I never get from other anthologies I've participated in. Things like sales numbers and where we are on the charts. I guess in retrospect I could have looked up at least the latter! But I was clueless. This forces me to take more of an active interest. Advice?? If an opportunity comes along - take it. It can only be a learning experience. But with self-publishing as a project on your own, I'd still caution that you have to do it right. Have a plan and make SURE it's edited appropriately and that you've taken the time to put in as much work as you would have with a published novel. You want your best work out there.
Leslie: We were fortunate to be a part of a talented team in creating Journeys of Wonder. My jaw is still dragging along the floor at the huge amount of work that goes into self-publishing. We used a professional model for the process. It was never about just tossing something out there. It was always about quality and excellence. As for advice, I'd say make sure you don't skimp on any part of the process, either creative or technical. Align yourself with people who are serious and professional about turning out a product comparable to the best that's out there.
Are they amazing or what? Blogging buddies, have you ever published in an anthology? Or have you self-published your work? If so, is there anything else you'd like to add?
Interested in owning a copy of Journeys of Wonder? Here are the deets:
Journeys of Wonder--A new Anthology of Genre Fiction
Journeys of Wonder is a new anthology of genre fiction. We've assembled three talented writers to bring you five chilling tales that are guaranteed to keep you up at night - or at least make you turn on the lights.
Featured in Volume 1, June 2012:
1. The Door by Ian Kezsbom: Six people are stuck in a room with no memory of how they got there while a fear of the unknown keeps them from opening the only exit they have.
2. Blackout by Lisa Gail Green: A terrifying tale of a young woman whose memory is shattered and a creepy neighbor who is not all that he seems.
3. Infinity by Ian Kezsbom: Two brothers, forced to travel through time to save the world from an unspeakable evil, have little idea of what they have actually gotten themselves into.
4. Eye of the Wolf by Lisa Gail Green: A young girl struggles against the power of the full moon as she tries to hide her deadly secret from her family.
5. Afterdeath by Leslie S. Rose: In a future where our journey beyond death is no longer a mystery, the promise of eternal love waits, unless you break the rules.
On sale only at Amazon.com now! $.99 or free through the Amazon Prime lending library!
Visit us at: www.journeysofwonder.com
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