Daydreaming Anthologies

It’s fun to toss ideas around. Daydreaming is a part of this writing thing we do. Dream the dream, then pursue it. In my case, there are lots of ideas to toss around given my prolificacy. I blame it on abundant time. After years of illness, a brief period working part-time, and then landing in lockdown, I’ve discovered just how prolific I can be. That’s a good thing.

Daydreams. I was an angel in school—except for daydreaming. Every report card noted my wandering attention. No classroom could hold my imagination.

That’s why I’d love for you to accompany me now on one of my daydreaming threads. You just might get some new ideas of your own on the way. This one is about anthologies. Willing? All right, let’s go…

NaNo Cover: CA Hawthorne

I’m setting aside novels this week, even though there are a lot of those. There are five drafted that take place in Carrdia, but Riparia’s series remains incomplete. For Pannulus I’ve written two novels and in a way they are what started me down this path.

The first shove was following up Protecting the Pneuma Key with a sequel, my first novella. There were stray thoughts of how great it’d be to combine novellas and short stories in an anthology. Problem was, my Pneuma Key novella would be either a stand alone or an extra with the novel because they were linked.

Moving right along…

Stealing Light is the novel currently in its first full edit. In fact, I talked about it last week. I also mentioned that there are six longish short stories that go with it. Those six, if combined, would constitute a book that was over 60K words.

You thought I was kidding about prolific.

Okay, great, but Stealing Light is still being edited and those stories, again, are linked to the novel.

That, though, sent me hurtling down yet another path (is it obvious that my compass tends to spin?). Stealing Light is about a gender spirited protagonist. I also have other stories about the gender spirited. One is the novel, Pneuma Key, but there are others, shorter stories.

Cover: CA Hawthorne

One of them is a short story called Taking Flight. It’s available on the website. It, though, is just the beginning. There are four other gender spirited short stories that are 4-5K each. In addition, there’s New Year’s Train to Talonspear, which is a novella. It’s 35K. All of a sudden, that places the gathered stories 60K.

There are a few hurdles, though, before an anthology could come about. One is that the novella has never been edited (I drafted it last December). The other is that when I examine the collection, the diversity of tone across the tales feels off to me. I could fix that with a few more short stories or a short story and a novella or … well, you get the idea.

Never fear, there are ideas bubbling in my head all the time.

Oh, but I’m not done with collecting. If I assembled all my other Pannulus short stories (Tales of Pannulus maybe?) they’d total 50K (10 stories). Some of those, too, have never been edited. There’s also an additional short story that didn’t work as one. I’ve always thought it should have been a novella. One of these days I need to revisit that story because the scene in the inn is wonderful (though sad).

I’m still not done. Another possible combination would be Historical Tales of the Tremjara Continent (or some other title). Those, though, only number 8 stories, or about 40K. The same problem exists for my miscellaneous short stories (contemporary, paranormal, sci-fi), which total about 37K.

Keep in mind that I’m only counting those stories that I presently deem worthy of publication. There are many others, some that I haven’t looked at in several years. A fresh eye can sometimes make a big difference. Too, I’m always adding.

So, how have I generated so many? I didn’t write my first one until late 2015. My approach began with a modified view of Ray Bradbury’s adage that you should write one short story per week for a year. You can’t possibly write 52 bad ones. I didn’t actually do that, but I did write one per day for two weeks following an early NaNoWriMo win in 2015.

Over the last few years I’ve devoted a month to what I call Short Story December to follow up NaNoWriMo. Last year, I stretched that to include writing two novellas. Keep in mind, I can write a short story in 1-3 days and a novella in 7-10. That means they adds up. I dearly love writing shorter works in December after the long marathon in November.

I’ve considered writing some short stories or a novella this summer, and still might. At the moment though, Stealing Light is my focus and I’m on a roll. Regardless, no later than this December there’ll be more stories and they could tip the balance. Those could lead to realizing some of these anthology dreams.

I thank all who are reading this for going on this little journey with me. Daydreaming supports and inspires the writer within. If you’re a writer, or enjoy some other form of artistic expression, I encourage you to do the same.

About Christina Anne Hawthorne

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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