Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Serials and Anthologies By Carrie Fancett Pagels

Have you ever been asked to join with other writers to work on a serial story or an anthology? I’ve done several so I’ll try to describe what is meant by each and the advantages and disadvantages of doing this type of project.

Serial – This type of writing requires the participant to continue the story line (normally anyway) wherein each author does their own section but must continue with the H/H intact and same characters (you can add, though) and you must move the storyline forward using the GMC already building. An example of this is a project (entitled A Vow Fulfilled) I participated in two years ago but which only was published online this past winter.

  • Benefits: Working with different authors. Seeing their way of approaching a story and characterization vs. yours. Noting their voice(s) as compared with your own. If you do the serialization online, in bits, and do a blog hop you will see a jump in your blogs stats. It is a very nice gift for your readers. Also, for newbies like me, fans from your published author friends might take note of you for future reference (one hopes!)
  • Drawbacks: Trying to contribute/finish what someone or several other someones have started is difficult! When I first got my manuscript to add to I literally froze up. Could not imagine how I was going to write the next section. This is very different from brainstorming and writing your own story. Also, if you have a strong voice, like I do, you’re going to struggle to try to fit within the story and not stick out like a sore thumb (I failed!)

Serial/anthology – I think there can be a mix in which one is contributing to a single story but where the writer need only include a few elements. For example on Colonial Quills we did a Forted Frontier Christmas story that we published online for eleven consecutive weeks. Participants needed to include key points such as the fort and its surroundings and the time frame but could choose which characters were in their section.
  • Pros: Lots of fun! Flexibility to do your own thing but structure, too. There is no requirement to keep a story going. So honestly—I can’t think of any drawbacks!
Anthology - Wiki defines an anthology this way: An anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler. It may be a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts. In genre fiction anthology is used to categorize collections of shorter works such as short stories and short novels, usually collected into a single volume for publication.

The Christmas Cup of Cheer project that I am participating in for Guideposts Books (releasing October, 2013) will include 15 short stories in the anthology or collection. In this anthology there are some stipulations such as it being a Christmas story (and I also believe they had to be set in North America but I am not positive on that!)

Some collections are like the Cry of Freedom compilation. They are a series of published stories and novellas that release sequentially. In this series, in which I made my debut, authors are required to stay within a certain time frame and setting--in this case the Civil War in America during the year 1863. This series allows each author to independently write a story for publication. So an advantage is almost complete freedom. A slight disadvantage is you lose the working together component. But if you all participate in social media together, this can be offset.

Have any of the readers participated in a serial or anthology? What was your experience?
About the Author
Carrie Fancett Pagels writes “romantic” historical fiction. Carrie’s debut release Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance, a Kindle Civil War best seller,  is  part of a multi-author release headed up by Murray Pura. She is a contributor to a nonfiction anthology God’s Provision in Tough Times by Cynthia Howerter and La-Tan Murphy, releasing in June 2013.
Her short story "Snowed In: A Northwoods Christmas" will appear in Guidepost Books A Christmas Cup of Cheer in 2013.

Carrie is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency and is owner/administrator of two group blogs: “Colonial Quills” and “Overcoming With God." Carrie was a psychologist for twenty-five years. She lives in Virginia with her family.

Connect with Carrie:

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