Writing For An Anthology

I was invited by one of my author friends to participate in an anthology. It’s coming out this Halloween, and I’m really excited about it. This will be my second published work this year (following the release of my debut novel, “Follow the Hummingbird”, in July), and it means so much to me, since I only started writing last year. 

I saw a lot of authors participate in different anthologies, and have always thought that it must be a great experience. You’re writing your own story, but at the same time you’re part of a team. It’s a challenge because there is a certain topic/theme/genre your story needs to be in. Besides, there is a deadline, which makes it even trickier. 

In my case, the deadline felt tight. I learned about the anthology on August 22nd, and at that point I didn’t have a story that would be a fit for the project. I needed to create it. I needed to come up with an idea, and then have it written, professionally edited and proofread within less than two months – because the release date is October 31st, and of course, the stories have to be submitted in advance. 

So yes, this was definitely a challenge. I know that some other authors had stories that were already completed, but others, like me, had to write them from scratch. 

The wordcount range was from 5K to 35K.

As someone with very limited time for writing, I had my doubts. I really wanted to take part in the project, but I wasn’t sure I could make it. I had nothing at that point. I had started to work on two other writing projects by that time, so I’d have to put them aside and focus on the third one instead. I am a toddler mom, so most of my writing happens late at night, if I have any energy left after chasing my super active 2-year-old the whole day. Sometimes I sneak in some writing during his naps in the day. But I don’t have the type of schedule where I can make or keep firm commitments. 

But I thought, maybe I can manage to write 5000 words in a month. (The second month I intended to use for editing). I was nervous, a bit overwhelmed and excited all at once.

So I decided to accept the offer and take part in the project. I paid the anthology buy-in straightaway, before I could change my mind, and started thinking of the story.

I didn’t have to wait for inspiration. The story idea just came to me that same evening. I couldn’t sleep until 2 a.m. and kept thinking about it and writing down all the ideas in the notes on my phone. And then I decided to start writing. So I wrote a little bit of the opening scene. Then I woke up early the next morning, and while my little hurricane was still asleep, I continued writing. By the time my son woke up, I had 2,000 words of the new story written. 

In just a few days, I finished the story, having written 11,000 words in total. All that time I couldn’t think about anything else except the new world I had created and the characters and their adventures. 

My husband read the story and thought it was great. He even commented on how the story could easily be expanded into a novel. 

Then I heard the same from my editor. 

I am now thinking that I could expand this novelette into a novella and make it a prequel to a bigger story, or maybe even a series. 

I know for sure that this story has great potential. I can feel it. And I’m so grateful that it just came to me, exactly when I needed it.

I’m looking back now and thinking that a couple of months ago it wasn’t even in my plans. I had just released my debut novel, and started working on book 2 of the series, making peace with the fact that I wouldn’t release anything any time soon. 

Now, I have a whole new story that will be available to readers in a couple weeks. 

Isn’t this amazing?

Another beautiful thing about taking part in an anthology is working as a team with other writers. I have met some wonderful people there. Besides, spreading the word about your new release is so much easier when you join forces with other authors! 

Thanks to this anthology, I’ve been in Halloween mood since the end of August. And of course, while writing a story about a witch, I just had to buy a witch hat!

I’m finishing the edits this week and sending out my story, “The Secret Spell”, to the organizers. It will be formatted along with the other stories, and at the end of this month we’ll be celebrating the release of our anthology, “The Season Of The Witch.” The cover has already been created, and the book is available for pre-order on Amazon.

So I can say that my first experience of writing for an anthology was very positive, inspiring and encouraging. It was a challenge, and it was great fun at the same time.

I’ll definitely be participating in other anthologies in the future. Although for the next few months my priority is writing the next novel in my series. I’ve even decided to try NaNoWriMo this year – but that’s a topic for a separate blog post. 

If you want to check out our awesome witchy anthology, you can find it here:

The Magic of Storytelling

I miss my story and my characters. 

“Follow the Hummingbird” is entering the final editing stage. I’m still receiving feedback from beta-readers, and it’s such a bitter-sweet feeling — I know I will go back to that world and tweak some things, but I miss the writing process. I miss creating those worlds. I miss characters reaching out to me and telling me what the next chapter would be about and where it would take place. 

It’s all been written now, they’re all there, they exist, they’ve gone on their journeys, they’ve had their adventures, they’ve laughed, they’ve cried, they’ve struggled. Well, actually, I believe that they continue doing all that somewhere, in some realm where all our story ideas and fictional characters come alive. 

It’s just that I miss creating them…

That’s why I enjoy feedback from my betas so much — when they talk about my characters or discuss certain scenes from the book, I dive back into that world happily. 

That’s also why I started working on a new project, although ”Follow the Hummingbird” is not fully completed and has yet to be published. 

Because I miss the writing process. And because the new characters are reaching out to me and asking me to tell their stories.

Considering that I am still working on my novel and it’s on my mind all the time, it kind of feels like cheating. I have to admit, I even get my characters’ names confused — in the story I wrote recently, I called my character Tina a couple times, using the name of the main character in my novel. 

But it feels so good to write, and I figured that I’ll sort these issues out when I edit, and for now I’ll just focus on the writing. 

The new project I’m working on is a collection of short stories called “The Town.” All the stories in it are happening in the same town, but they involve different characters and are not interrelated. The only thing they have in common is that they take place in the same town and the events that are happening in these stories are anything but ordinary. 

In fact, I am going to include a couple of them in the mini-book that I’m putting together now. It’s a small collection of short stories called “Planting Seashells,” and I will be giving it away for free to my subscribers. I’ll add two stories from “The Town” as a sneak peek of my new project. 

When I complete the mini-book, I’ll add a sign-up form here, so that you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter and receive the free mini-book. I’ll post about it additionally, so if you don’t want to miss it, you might want to consider subscribing to my blog updates. Or follow my posts/stories on Instagram. 

I’m very excited about this new project. I know I’ll have so much fun writing all those different stories about all those different characters. I also know I will have to put it aside for a while when I’m doing the final round of edits of “Follow the Hummingbird,” which will be happening in about 2-3 weeks from now. But as soon as my little ’hummingbird’ flies out of the nest into the big world, I’m heading straight back to “The Town.” 

When I’m there, I’ll find a cozy cafe with the best coffee in The Town, take a seat, look around, talk to its residents, and start writing down the stories they tell me.

I can’t wait. 

This is the best part of being a writer. It’s pretty much like traveling through time and space, if you think about it. You get to go places that nobody knew existed, you get to meet all kinds of people and learn their deepest secrets. You get to be a demiurge and create worlds. All that without the need to actually leave your house… (one of the few possible ways to travel nowadays, right?)

And then you get to see what other people think of the worlds you created. What they think of your characters. Some will understand them and see them the way you do, some will see them in a very different way. Somebody will dream of your worlds. Somebody will miss your characters after they finish reading the book – just like you’ll miss them when you finish writing it. 

It’s such a strange, unnerving, exciting and beautiful experience — to be sharing your stories with the world.