Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

Monday Musing: Anthologies and Changing your Aim

Written By: Tracy - Dec• 13•10

I haven’t had a lot of time lately for short stories. Between writing the Epic project of 2010 and starting It Came to Tranquility, there isn’t a lot of time leftover for short form fiction, even though I think of new ideas daily. One exception that I’ve made is for a couple of anthologies that caught my attention.

Generally, anthologies have a theme that you must write for. The Yard Dog Press anthologies set in the Bubbas of the Apocalypse universe all have a Zombie vs. Redneck theme. Each one has a sub-theme as well. Houston: We’ve Got Bubbas! is a collection of stories that are space-themed. International House of Bubbas is a story of rednecks and zombies overseas. A Bubba in Time Saves None is a story of time traveling rednecks and Zombies.

Anthologies can sometimes be hard to write for. The editors typically have a stable of writers that they already have in mind for the anthology (the big names that sell the book). If you aren’t on that list, you can always ask to write something on spec. Then (if there is room and if your story shines) you just might make it in.

Even if you write something stellar, you may not get into the anthology. For International House of Bubbas, the editor had to kick out several very good stories because she had an abundance of stories set in France.

You can often improve your chances of getting into an anthology if you concentrate on an obscure topic. For example, I recently sold a story to Lee Martindale’s The Ladies of Trade Town. The theme of the anthology is heroines who just happen to work in (ahem) the world’s oldest profession. For my own story, I focused on a woman who was an honest courtesan (a woman who made a living from being an intellectual). When I pitched the story idea to Lee, she told me that she hadn’t had a story with that type of theme, so I knew my chances were good (as long as the story was good).

If you are targeting an anthology of urban legends, you might stay away from stories about waking up in Vegas missing a kidney. If you want to get into an anthology about folk tales, maybe focus on African tales instead of European.

In other words, if you change your aim, you just might hit your target.

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42 Comments

  1. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  2. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  3. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  4. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  5. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  6. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  7. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  8. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  9. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  10. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  11. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  12. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  13. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  14. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  15. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  16. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  17. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  18. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  19. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  20. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)

  21. bogwitch64 says:

    I’m always tempted by these calls to anthologies, but…I’m just not a short story writer. I have very little short fiction in my “portfolio.” Three short stories–one of which is under 2K words, the other two are around 6K. Then I have a few flash pieces.

    But, I have 25 novels! 🙂 (Most will never, EVER see the light of day!)