By: Kathie Scrimgeour
At first glance, it makes no sense to write a novel and submit it to an anthology. After all, anthologies are short writings, and novels are long. Here is the long and short of it (pun intended), do both at the same time. Here are a few ways to write a novel AND write for an anthology at the same time.
Start a New Book
Novels start out as a niggle of an idea. It slowly grows and grows until it is a full-length novel. But, what if you’re not sure your idea will work as a novel? Easy. Write it out as a short story. You may find, by the time you reach the end of it, that you have lost the desire to write that book, or it doesn’t have the oomph to stand as a novel. Not all is lost. You now have a short story to submit to an anthology.
So, you have this great villain that is going to wreak havoc on your protagonist. Like any good writer you want to know who this character is and how they came to be so evil. What better way can you explore their inner soul than through short fiction? You can work out all their innuendos, shortcomings, and desires in more detail than you might have in a full novel. Explore the defining moment that turned them to the dark side. In the end, you will have a fully fleshed-out character, or it might turn out that you don’t want the character in your novel anymore. Either way, you will have a completed short story that can be submitted to an anthology.
Make a Movie
Did you know Breakfast at Tiffany’s was a short story written by Truman Capote? How about “Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Prouix? Take a look at the list on Wikipedia of hundreds of short stories that made it to films. It’s quite impressive. Many screenwriters prefer to work off a short because they are, well, short. There is room for them to further expand a character, add depth to the world they live in, plus they don’t have to worry about insulting an audience that has intimate knowledge of a world built in a full-length novel (think of the Hobbit). Not all short stories (like novels) make it to the movies, but if yours doesn’t you still have an amazing story to submit to an anthology.
Try Out a New Genre
You write high fantasy but have been curious if you could write western or poetry. Writing a piece for an anthology is a perfect opportunity to test your skill (or desire) to try a new genre that you have thought about. Writing a short story is a much easier time commitment to make if you find women’s fiction isn’t your forte. Search for anthologies asking for works outside your usual genre. This will stretch your writing muscles outside your comfort zone.
There is nothing worse than sitting, staring at a blank white sheet unable to think of a darn thing to write. That last deep thriller took it out of you. Your brain is toast. You’re exhausted, but you want to write something. Try a short story to get your creative juices flowing again. Search for anthologies that are open to submissions and write a short story to fit the theme. Pick something that will be fun to write. If you see a theme that your knee-jerk reaction is, “Oh, that’s too easy,” then that just might be the next one you want. Does it seem silly? Write for it. Remember, this is just to give yourself a break. Again, once you’re done writing it, submit it.
Reading this post, you should have read the words, “Submit it” more than once. This is the key. You have to actually submit these short pieces you have created. Being a writer is a business and in any kind of business, it is best if you spread your wings a bit. As the old saying goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” By writing shorts, or poetry for that matter, you are not only stretching your writing wings you are also giving your readers options. You never know when someone will pick up an anthology for distractive reading on a plane and find your short story. They could become your next biggest fan.
Pikes Peak Writers’ Anthology
There is a plethora of publications to submit your story to and finding them can be a bit overwhelming. One place to consider is Pikes Peak Writers’ own anthology. Thus far PPW has published three anthologies that represent over 60 authors. Also, check out other writing organizations such as Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers or League of Utah Writers to find the theme that fits your story. Another great resource is Duotrope. This is a huge listing of places to submit not only your novel, but also your short story, poem, or non-fiction articles.
Writing a novel goes hand in hand with writing short stories. Submitting both will expand your writing wings, create new fans of your work, and give you a deeper sense of who your characters are. As you begin the process of writing your next novel, consider starting with a short story, and don’t forget to submit it!
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