Anthologies

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If you are new to writing fiction, you may not know about anthologies.

Don’t be embarrassed.  Up until a few years ago, I didn’t.  (Okay, so I live under a rock – sue me.)

I mean, I knew there were these things called short stories, and I knew folks wrote them and sometimes put them in a book, but, really, I, myself, never read short stories in a book.

If I’m gonna read a book-worth of fiction, it’s gonna be a novel.  The thought of reading a bunch of seemingly disconnected stories didn’t appeal to me.

If I did happen to read a short story, it was usually in a magazine or…well, I’m not sure.  Frankly, folks, I avoided reading them because they seemed like a waste of time.  Why get emotional invested in a story that takes less than an hour to read?  So, for the first 39 years of my life, short stories were not on my radar.

In the past couple of years, since beginning this whole writing hobby, I’ve learned to appreciate the short story form.  I now enjoy writing and reading them.  It took a lot of effort, and I still struggle with wanting to turn every idea I have into a novel, but I am beginning to see the point of short stories.

And I’ve had the pleasure of reading tons of great short fiction.  The most recent short story collection that I’ve read, Pickers and Pickled Punks by Marina Bridges, had me pondering the nature of humans and our collective, warped OCD tendencies.

Unfortunately, most of my short story fiction reading has been limited to Critter manuscripts.  Since these are unpublished stories, I can’t share any of them with you nor can I really talk about them.  So, I feel like I’m definitely missing out.

But, I aim to change that.  I plan to buy and read more anthologies.  I recently tried to read Songs of the Dying Earth, a collection of stories edited by the esteemed G.R.R. Martin.  But, I didn’t like the first one and put it down so I could read another novel.  Mind you, I know I didn’t give it much of a chance – I will.

I’m completely enamored of anything Euan Harvey produces.  His short stories are rich and stunning.

And the other day, while at the library, I picked up a wonderful horror short story collection that had me enthralled, but I set the sucker down and didn’t note the author!  The library has since rearranged itself and I can’t find the book anymore.  Pity.  I’ll have to ask the good folks over on SFFWorld.com if they know which one I’m talking about.

I know there are tons more out there that I don’t know about, but I am eager to read.  Suggestions are welcomed!

I’m also thinking of putting one together (not to include my own stories).  I’ve wanted to do one ever since I started participating in the SFFWorld.com forum flash fiction contests.  There are so many good stories churned out every month that I just want to share them with the world.  My first attempt to gather those particular stories didn’t go anywhere, but the seed has been planted and I really want to do it.  I just have to figure out the best way to go about it.

Anyway, for those of you who may not have tried short stories – give ’em a shot.  They are definitely worth the time.

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