Saturday, June 9, 2012

Writing Short Stories & Publishing an Anthology


My talented beta buddies, Lisa Gail Green and Leslie Rose, have teamed up with author Ian Kezsbom and published a cool anthology, Journeys of Wonder (edited by Deborah Pasachoff).

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!


Blogging @ http://www.journeysofwonder.com/blog/


Wanna chat in a forum? http://www.journeysofwonder.com/forum/

39 comments:

  1. I have my copy! :)

    There are so many steps to the self publishing journey - I'm always impressed with those who take that route! Can't wait to rea the shorts!:)

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    1. Jemi, you're a rock star for slurping up the anthology already. xo

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    2. I'm late to the comment party, but you know I appreciate your support, Jemi!!

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  2. Really enjoyed the interview! I'm writing new adult short-ish (novelettes) stories right now, and completely agree with all they were saying. You have to focus.l You really have to nail a storyline. No time for wandering about. :)

    Love the anthology concept, but was never sure how it 'happened' from the putting-it-together standpoint, etc. Great information all around, ladies.

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    1. Thanks, E.J. Isn't it fun to stray into the new adult arena? It's a time in life where everything feels possible.

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    2. I'm so glad it was useful to you, E.J.! Good luck with your novelettes.

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  3. Wow! Great questions and answers! I never really considered short stories before... I guess because I feel it would be too difficult for me to tell the whole story.
    I give major props to all those authors who can write short stories!

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    1. Thanks, Mrs. J. I tell you, I suffer from extreme heart palpitations when I am nearing the word count limit on short stories. It comes up so quickly.

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    2. You should try it as a challenge sometime. :D

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  4. Julie, you are a java cookie shake with whipped cream and a cherry (Can you tell I just drove through Jack in the Box?) for hosting this interview. Thank you so much. xo

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    1. Oooh, looks like I need to revisit Jack in the Box!

      Leslie, many thanks to you and Lisa for sharing your awesomeness with the rest of us :)

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  5. Thanks so much for this post, Julie - it's really great. And if people are interested in learning more about the self-publishing process, I'll be blogging about everything from conception through to sales and marketing over the next few months on the Journeys of Wonder blog.

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    1. Wow, Ian. That silhouette looks just like you.

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    2. IDK, Leslie, he seems kind of shady in the pic... Mwahahaha!

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    3. I forgot to turn on the flash.

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  6. Thanks, guys, for visiting & for supporting our blogger buddies' anthology!

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  7. Wow! This was a big project to take on! I love writing shorts when I get stuck in a novel or just need to let it breathe. In fact, I wrote one yesterday that I'm planning to put in a contest! Great info from your pals, Julie! You are lucky to have them on your team:)

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    1. We're the lucky ones to be in Julie's shining sphere.

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    2. Thanks, Michele! I agree with Leslie - we're lucky to have Julie!!

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  8. Just bought my copy! Love short stories.

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    1. Thank you so much, Lee. I've always loved reading short stories. I'm finally warming up to writing them.

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  9. Ooh, short stories are such fun! This sounds like a great collection!

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    1. Thank you. I hope you check it out and that you enjoy it.

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    2. Thank, Trisha. Make sure you check that the doors are locked before you read Lisa's stories. Very scary.

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  10. I hopped over from Lisa's blog. I haven't met Leslie yet, so 'Hi, Leslie!.' I love the sound of this anthology, not to mention the cover. Awesome. And yes, I've been published in an anthology. I'd love to do it again. It was a great experience. Like Lisa, I began writing by concentrating on short stories, mainly shorties of 500 words or less. Writing those really tests your skills as an author. Congrats, ladies, on a job well done!

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    1. Thanks for your support! *blows kisses*

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    2. Hi back. Nice to meet you. Thanks for the good juju. I admire anyone who rises to the short story challenge.

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  11. Hey, I saw this on Leslie's blog and downloaded it last night. It's on my TBR list. Way to go you guys. :)

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    1. You rock, Michelle. Can't wait to hear what you think.

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  12. What a great anthology. I love the sound of the stories so I'll check this out.

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    1. Thanks for your support, Lynda. I hope we don't scare you too badly. :)

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  13. I just downloaded Journeys of Wonder and can't wait to read the stories. Short stories intimidate the writer in me, but I love reading them. Congratulations to Leslie and LIsa!!!

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  14. Cynthia, you and the others who downloaded Journeys are such sweethearts. Thanks so much for supporting our bloggy friends :)

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