How to write for an Anthology#TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here with her Tuesday thoughts. I’m going to talk Anthologies today, specifically how to write for them.

Having recently received an acceptance for the next Evernight Anthology—this will be my 10th Evernight Anthology—I’d like to think I learned a thing or two about how to write for them.

So, then exactly how do you do it?

How to written on a white paper

Well, first off read the Anthology call. I can see you rolling your eyes now, but, I mean it, seriously, read it.

Evernight excels at spelling out what they are looking for.

For this Antho call the brief was/is the following:

(for the purposes of this blog post I’m going to stick to the M/F anthology call)

The Alpha lives for the hunt…
 
Driven by instinct, an Alpha shifter recognizes his fated mate from one scent, one touch. He’ll pursue his woman, regardless of the cost, and anyone else would be smart to get out of his way. He won’t stop until he takes possession of his prize.
 
Although the hunter doesn’t need convincing, his mate certainly does. The Alpha will have to prove himself as a lover and convince his woman that he plays for keeps. 
 
 

Stories must have a strong plot, conflict, well-developed characters/dialogue, and a romance to remember. We do not want erotica. We want quality erotic paranormal romance. Original work only.

The Alpha can be any dominant shifter species. The Alpha’s mate can be any shifter species or human.

 

Limited space

No rape, infidelity, or incest

So, let’s digest that. They want shifters, that much is clear straight away. They want romance, a well-developed paranormal story line, must be an original work, and the Alpha in question needs to be a dominant species.

So, that means bear, wolf, large cat, etc. not bunny shifters 😉

His mate can be human or shifter, and interestingly enough, can be any species so, hey, she can be a bunny if you like.

Note the term Alpha. That does not mean they want an asshole, overbearing hero. They want an Alpha, a hero responsible for his pack, with a code of honor and a ruthless streak when it comes to pursuing his mate.

She needs to be reluctant, that’s where the conflict comes in.

The guidelines mention a hunt of some sort…interesting. A literal hunt or do they mean the pursuance of the heroine? Open for interpretation. One thing is clear, he recognizes she’s his mate immediately.

With me so far? Good.

If you’re anything like me, ideas are already percolating around in your brain.

Start with the hero. Who is he, what is he? What makes him stand out.

In my story, the hero is a battle-scarred wolf shifter, responsible for bringing peace to the packs in his area of Northumberland in the UK (my stories are always set in the UK!) He is under a certain amount of pressure to find his mate. His pack wants him to settle down, and he is being offered various, far too young in his opinion, she-wolves.

My hero is no angel. He has fucked plenty of females, both shifter and human, but lately, that has gotten old. Besides, he’s busy with his pack and his work in the forestry commission.

The hunt thing in the guidelines spoke to me because I’d found this picture.

tt17th-jan

That simply screams shifter defending his mate to me.

I got the opening very quickly in my mind. My hero and his pack are hunting, and the heroine literally stumbles into the hunt.

I shan’t tell you more because I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but that was my beginning.

Now onto the heroine. My first idea was that she was human. In fact, my first attempt at the anthology was a bear shifter and his human mate, but it quickly transpired that the story wouldn’t keep to the required word count (it ended up over 50 K in the end!), so the wolf shifter was Antho attempt #2.

A word to the wise here. Don’t be afraid to try several stories for fit in an Anthology. I wasn’t sure whether I’d have the time to write an Antho story after the first attempt veered off as it were, but I did.

In fact, this story practically wrote itself in the end. 🙂

Back to the heroine. I mulled this over for a while, and then it came to me. Would it not add to the conflict if the heroine was a shifter species which would normally be food for the wolves. In the end, I settled on a deer shifter.

My heroine left the deer shifting community because she didn’t exactly fit into what the stags expect of their mates. This deer isn’t meek and gentle. She has backbone and snark in spades, and she is determined to live life the way she wants it, now kowtow to some overbearing male.

*smiles*

So when she meets the hero, sparks fly, as she fights the pull between them. Then there is the small matter of his pack. They will never accept a deer in their midst, right? Such delicious conflict right there. How will it all work out?

Well, you’ll have to read the Anthology when it comes out to find out what exactly happens, but I had oodles of fun writing that story.

And that is how you should approach any writing really, whether it is for an Antho or not. Have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to change things up, but do stick to the guidelines and the general story premise.

Dig deep with the emotion and the conflict. It’s a challenge to get that across, especially in a short story format, but digging deep and bringing that rounded story will be what makes your submission stand out above the rest.

If you haven’t written for an Anthology before, then do check out previous anthologies that publisher has published. Read them, get a feel for what they are looking for in a story. It helps, trust me.

Last but by no means least, if you get a no, or a revise and re-submit for a different line, do not be discouraged.

It doesn’t mean your writing is crap. Well, it might do, if you made a hash out of it, lol, but I’m assuming here that you’ll have done your best and have produced a great story.

What it does mean, is that it isn’t the right fit for this Anthology. There could be a number of reasons as to why. Maybe the publisher feels the story would be better expanded on. Maybe it is too close to other stories they already have in the collection. Maybe it’s too different from the other stories.

Maybe, you didn’t read the guidelines properly and shot way off base with your interpretation of what they’re looking for.

It happens to all of us. I recall one submission, not for an Antho, but a specific line, that I got way wrong. I did get an R&R, but decided to publish the story elsewhere as I loved it the way it was, and my other publisher took it and it’s one of my bestselling series.

See, it swings in roundabouts, this getting accepted to a specific submission call thing.

I know, especially with Anthologies, I never take a yes for granted. Well, I don’t ever take a yes for granted, to be honest with you. To do so would be foolhardy in the extreme, and smack of diva behavior I have no time for.

*smiles*

One last thing on writing for anthologies. You may not hear back about your submission for some time. You may hear right away, if your story is an excellent fit, and the publisher definitely wants it in there. You might have to wait till after the closing time for the submission call to hear.

Do not read too much into that wait. I’ve waited weeks before and I also heard back within days. It all depends on what else is going on. Of course, your paranoid writer self will assume the worst if you kept waiting.

Been there, done that, but look at it this way. What is the worst that could happen? They say no.

Okay, then you fix what they want you to fix to get it up the right standard and submit to whatever line they’re suggesting if it’s an R&R for a different line.

If it’s a straight no, again, pull up your big girl panties and have a good long look at the story, and see where it could be improved, and go from there.

And you know if the answer is yes, well, then, kick back with a glass of bubbly and look forward to having lots of release day buddies. 😀

Anthologies are great for getting your name out there and gaining new readers.

And if you didn’t make it into this call, there will be others. Don’t give up. Try again and again, if need be.

That’s all from me today.

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx

 

 

 

 

Just Keep Swimming #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

saturday

Good morning everyone. Happy Saturday. Kacey here, not really bright eye and busy tailed — ever wonder who came up with this quote, because aren’t bunnies the only ones with busy tails? — anyway, that’s a post for another day.

What a satisfying week I had, but it didn’t begin that way.

This week reminded me of the craziness of this business. The ups and downs, emotional roller coaster, the head spinning, never ending tumultuous nut-job that it sometimes is. Here’s a crazy look at the week in the life of an author. Mine, of course. It started off with doldrums and woe-is-me kind of day. I was looking at Amazon way too long because of new releases. Their algorithms are torture and the numbers don’t always move as fast as we’d like to show us that our releases are flying out the virtual doors. The new release, time freezes and a lot of it is spent staring at Amazon rankings when time is better spent writing. But it’s a curse, a sickness so to speak when an author has a new release. And like most authors, who do we confide in when we may not see the numbers decreasing quick – another author. I have many wonderful colleagues, friendships built for years who many I consider BFFs for life. My Monday confidant is an author whom I’ve known about six or seven years and we’ve gone through a lot together and we have that friendship that if she lived nearby, we’d spend a lot of time together. Anyway, she talked me off this ledge I didn’t know I was on, reminded me how this biz works and advice I didn’t really know I was searching for. I’ve been contemplating seeking out another publisher to add to my list, because it’s not the best idea to have all your “eggs in one basket”, and I know this. However, with the state of things in the last couple years, publishers closing, aRe’s screwy and deceitful closing, it’s kind of like walking on eggshells. An author has to tread carefully. We have to really dig deep to consider all the aspects/companies, and who the hell to put our trust in. It has become downright scary in many ways. I don’t trust easily and I’m battling with which publishers remain who I can place it in. My goal is to build my readership, and there are still some publishers who are doing things right and to the best levels they can, but I’m just unsure. My author pal gave me great advice, encouragement and guidance. She’s amazing. Her best advice at the end of the day, as I try to find my way and consider everything…

justkeepswimming2

And then surprisingly, I woke up the next day and slayed some words!! I had a fabulous writing day of 8000 words in one afternoon and the words flowed. I woke up reminded why I love writing and the most important thing I always need to remember … the writing is the most important thing. Get the stories written and the rest will fall in to place. I can’t allow myself to get bogged down in worry and the chaos that sometimes comes with being an author. I love my job, love the process and love the stories I write. The following day was a busy day with other things happening, so just a few words on Wednesday, under 1000 but Thursday was a great day with nearly 4000 words. My WIP is now at 20k! Woot! Which I find is sometimes the hardest number to get to because of the beginning, the intro and/or backstory that has to be there. The set up and, at least for me, the story pretty much takes off after that halfway point for me. I always let the stories tell me what the word count will be, I am an author who doesn’t set that word count ahead of time. I may have a bit of an idea, and if it’s a series title I will consider that the book will be at least as long as previous books, but I never set the word count. I find it allows for better writing. Yesterday was another hectic day and I got some words in my notebook while I was on the go, which sometimes happens, so I don’t know what my count was for yesterday but a couple pages worth. I’ll take it!

In this business we endure many ups and downs and sometimes need the reminders of the good things to carry of through when times are tough. We need to remember why we began writing and simply write because we love it. My week started off in doubt and low self-esteem but thanks to a pal, and to not giving up, the week ended on a serious high note. No one said this business was easy and hey, anything worth having is worth the struggles along with the happy times.

Never give up. Never surrender.

I need to get that on a t-shirt – seven shirts, so I can wear one every day and see the constant reminders. *g*

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey (2)

Where There’s a Will There’s a Way #SatisfactionSaturday #Writing (@KaceyHammell)

saturday

Good morning everyone, Kacey here to wish you a Happy Saturday and Happy October 1st! Boy, the year is flying by isn’t it?! Leaves are changing color, the mornings are chilly and the country is gorgeous dressed in fall and/or Halloween decorations.

I believe I’ve posted in the past about never giving up on your writing. Never giving up on YOU, the author. It is something that always needs reiterating in my opinion. It’s so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of writing woes.  Writing woes such as not being inspired, not never-give-up-quotes-6writing a word fora  week or month, having no characters battling for your attention. I’ve had a year of that. Health wise and struggling with two works in progress that stalled more than once and made me question everything. Now, some authors will say “there’s no excuse for not writing” or “if you want to write you will make time”. I get what they are saying and for the most part I agree, but what the hell does an author do when nothing is clicking, health is poor, family matter (which take precedent) drain you to the point you have nothing left to give your writing…

You do what is best for YOU. And you write 10 words a day, which the next may lead to 20, etc., and by the end of the week, you could be up to 200 a day. Don’t be disappointed with yourself!! Those are still words. They may not be the masterpieces you think they should be but they are still words. Keep focused and give yourself time to clear you head, write some poetry, write a blog post, write a terrible short story that a publisher will never see.

This year I did all the above with two stories and I’m happy to say they’re both done, and one has just recently been accepted by a publisher! (can’t say more than that because the paperwork hasn’t been signed yet). When one book stalled, it took me a while to realize I was spending too much time and angst on it before I started another story. I have never worked on 2 stories at once before. It was something I never understood other authors liondoing. Too many voices, too many antagonists, too much to deal with. However, doing so pushed me through some hard times and big hurdles to jump over. I will be forever grateful to my hubs for talking me off the ledge and convincing me that sitting on one story for months and not writing a word, wasn’t getting anything accomplished. He convinced me to ditch my preconceived notions of not writing two stories at once and … well, he was right. But don’t ever tell him that!! LOL

Now with two stories done, the 2nd near ready to be sent to a publisher, I’m reminded that I’m the maker of my career and the only one to control how things progress. I wanted to give up so many times. I’ll be honest, there were more tears over not writing than what I shed a couple days ago when I received the yes from the publisher. Only writers will understand this, but my soul ached not succeeding in daily word counts, how long it took to write 2 stories. I felt like a failure, that I shouldn’t be writing, and that it was a career that I’d run my course with already.

My father always said “Where there’s a will there’s a way” (and it wasn’t because “will” and “way” were family names either! LOL). He always told me that determination and pushing through every obstacle is the only way to make it in life. But one never, ever gives up. And he was right. No matter what stands in our way, we have to break through it, stomp on it, set it on fire and move on. We can never give up. Not on ourselves or our characters.

I know there are many aspiring authors, and seasoned vets, who are struggling with a story, a world they’re building or feeling defeated if they receive a rejection from a publisher. But do not give up. I’ve said it before in posts but it needs to be said again so other writers who stumble upon Naughty Quills can read that where there’s a will there’s a way. Never give up and never succumb to the despair or hopelessness you may feel. If you want something bad enough then fight for it. But remember to take the time for yourself while you’re struggling. Clear the mind and soul, then continue to fight like hell for that story. Never give up on it.

roads

 

Until next week, always keep writing!

Kacey (2)