This Article first appeared over at Write Anything
I am surrounded by unfinished writing projects; which I have realised has caused me no end of stress as I am the personality type who is a “finisher.” Its with a great deal of gratitude to Paul for setting the Write Anything Project Challenge that I can commit to finishing at least one of these things.
Early December last year, I committed to myself that 2012 would be my year; the year I would get at least one of these projects I am still so passionate about, finished; across the line; published. I entered all of my projects into a spreadsheet and followed a decision-making process to determine which were the most important, the ones which would give me the most professional satisfaction to complete. Fighting for supremacy sits one novel, one self-help book and literally hundreds of short stories waiting to be edited, blow-torched, picked over, rewritten and edited again. I stared at the huge list and closed the file down; only to open it again when the challenge e-mail came out and I was forced to decide on which I will pursue and report in here.
The clincher to my decision lay in my bio lines—that I am a self-proclaimed advocate for the resurgence of the short story.
Annie’s 2012 Project
The publication of a short story collection by December 2012.
How far has it progressed?
Who hasn’t got a hard drive full of drafts and a drawer full of scribbled notes? I have plenty of material to choose from; the question remains if any of it is good enough. I’ve had the titles for about a year…
Argghh and here is where it starts to get messy…I’ve done a basic ‘sort’ of the stories I want to include and there are two strong themes I want to pursue.. ( sound familiar to anyone?) Its this indecision which has lead to paralysis for me
Sartre’s Lonely Toybox will focus on darker stories on humanity. With my inspiration from Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophies, these stories will delve into the motivations of the misunderstood characters who traverse the pages. It’s an injustice to attempt to summarise his work; however two quotes will form the mainstay of the Anthology. He maintains that “Evil is the product of the ability of humans to make abstract that which is concrete” and that, as humans, we are “condemned to be free”.
Sunburnt Heart will focus on stories from the Australian Bush; of battlers, of the humour and tragedy which is mainstay within the existence of those living the outback.
After a fair bit of deliberation, I am going to focus on Sartres Lonely Toybox; because, to be honest, most of the things I write end up dark and twisty, with creepy characters; even if I try to write something sunshiny and light.
The tasks ahead of me during the next few months include
- selection of 10-12 short stories for the anthology which fit the theme.
- synopsis of each story to ensure each will fit into theme
- redrafts of each story
- self-edit stories
- beta readers look at stories
- redraft using feedback from beta readers
- editorial assistance for stories
- mock-up of anthology—artwork etc.
- print out for final beta reading
- marketing and launch
Hitches and Obstacles
With 12 points it might be fair to assign one to each month of this year. However it’s February already, so I’m already behind schedule!
With a full-time job, family commitments and the like, it will be easy to allow this project to slide—as it has done in previous years. However, with the very public nature of the Challenge, comes the responsibility to stand by one’s word.
As far as publication goes; as much as I would love to think my anthology would be picked up by any sort of publishing firm, I am realistic with the knowledge that short stories have not yet come into their own, and certainly not authored by an unknown quantity such as myself.
My plan is to make the anthology available electronically (free) as well as printed copies and place these on Amazon. I’ll probably self-publish through Lulu or Smashwords or similar—unless someone has a better suggestion?
Each month, I’ll be reporting in on the progress and my reflections. I’d love suggestions and encouragement along the way.
My Call out to You.
So dear readers and supporters; I task you to keep me on course, to nag and to remind; to shame and point at me if I veer off the track.
EEK.. now I’ve made it public.. I’d better keep my promise…