Posted on 28 March 2012. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
Writewords talks to WW site expert Rebecca Lloyd and WW member Indira Chandrasekhar who have edited a new collection of short stories by WriteWords members.
What made you think of putting this anthology together?
Becca:- Indira thought of it, and approached me about it.
Indira:- We were in a particularly active phase of the short story group, and were critiquing some half a dozen diverse stories from different parts of the world, each with their unique perspectives. It inspired the idea of an anthology.
What about flash fiction? There is a lot of flash fiction around these days.
Indira:- Yes, but we had to establish boundaries. We decided on the short story. For one, the project was conceived of in the short story group. It is a form we write, we critique, we know and feel qualified to assess. Initially we set a minimum limit of 1000 words, but weren't over strict about it. If there were pieces that we felt fitted the anthology, we used them.
Becca:- The two forms are quite different anyway. Flash fiction has evolved to become something more than, or should it be less than? a truncated version of a short story. A short story writer is tasked with intriguing the reader as must a writer of flash of course, but that is the end for the flash writer, and just the beginning for the short story writer who must then keep the reader’s attention through a much longer period of time and that demands a whole range of different skills that couldn’t be displayed in one hundred words anyway, and it was those subtle and wonderful skills we were looking for in the stories we chose.
Indira:- Well said, Becca. That is the core of it.
How did you go about finding the stories?
Indira:- It was like some extraordinary mining operation for a rare mineral. Some stories we chanced upon easily. Some were from authors who were active and on the surface. Others we had to dig deep for. And finding some stories was like going on a treasure hunt, following maps that were in Becca's head, writers and work she remembered. I should emphasise that we were thorough and read hundreds of stories to choose the thirty-four that are in Pangea.
Becca:- Yes, it's true. There were stories that had stuck with me. We started back in 2004, didn't we, Indira? And I was trying to recall writers and stories from that year onwards that I particularly remembered. And yes, we did read an incredible number of stories.
So what is the theme of the anthology – how did you choose the stories?
Becca:- We didn't have a theme as such, did we Indira? Although later, I think we saw that the stories fitted into four different types of stories but I can't remember them off hand.
Indira:- The themes are discussed
in our introduction. It's interesting that they fell into those categories. Because our initial idea was simply to look for stories that brought specific and diverse worlds alive. And the fact that those themes emerged through such a range of cultural viewpoints was interesting.
Becca:- We chose the best stories we could find really, but some of the writers had left WW by then.
But you were able to get in touch with them all?
Becca:- Yes, I think we were, weren't we, Indira? Was there anyone we really wanted that we couldn't contact, do you remember? The beginning of the project seems like a long time ago now.
Indira:- Yes it does. I do believe we read and contacted everyone who had work still posted on WW. This was before archived work from non-active members was removed. I think one of the very few writers we discussed contacting but found had no short stories left on the site was Shyama Perera. Of the people who were still members but who had not participated in WW for a while, I think only one said she did not think her story was ready for publishing.
When did you start putting the anthology together?
Indira:- April 2010 was when we first exchanged WW mails about putting together a collection. Two years ago! That is a long time, but seems short considering we live in different parts of the world. As do our writers.
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