Fiction River’s 2018 Anthology Workshop Is About to Begin!

I have waited over two years to be able to say that I have several short stories that will be released in the next twelve months! These are all stories that will be in Fiction River anthologies. If you aren’t familiar with Fiction River, this is an anthology series you want to learn about! Great things are happening there. Writers who publish with Fiction River are winning awards! This year Dave Hendrickson, won the Derringer Award for Best Long Story with his fantastic short story, “Death in the Serengeti!”
Stories writers don’t sell to Fiction River get bought by other magazines and anthologies.

The first short story to be released will be “Payback” in the anthology Hard Choices. I love this story because the beginning actually happened to me. Of course, the story quickly dived into a fictional world. Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised it features a Doberman.

I wrote the story in part because writing a thriller short story is hard. I read once it might be the hardest short story to write. That was all I needed to know. I had to try to write a thriller short story. I have to admit this was my second sale to Fiction River and I was delighted when this story was selected by the editor, Dean Wesley Smith.

I participate in the Fiction River anthology workshop every year. Around fifty writers from all over the world attend. For six weeks (three weeks in November and three weeks in December, you receive on Monday morning the name of the anthology you need to write for that week and the theme for the story. Then your submission is due Sunday by midnight.

If you don’t make the deadline, your story is not considered. I’m sure each writer has their approach to writing a story in a week. Here is the strategy I follow:

  • By Monday night I pick a story idea to write. I often will develop a list of 5 – 8 story ideas. Before I go to bed, I pick one idea.
  • By Tuesday night I have to have any research I need to do completed. I never thought I would enjoy doing research but over the years I have found that many of my twists and turns and character quirks come from ideas I get doing research.
  • Wednesday and Thursday I write 2500 words or I stop when the story is finished if it is less than 5000 words.
  • Friday I finish up if I have not finished the story.
  • Saturday I start my editing process. I have a new approach that seems to be working better for me. I do multiple reads. I never rewrite, but I do a read for plot inconsistencies and conduct a second read for character motivations. Do things get worse throughout the story for the main character resulting in them changing or learning something about him or herself and/or the world?
  • Sunday, I read for missed words, spelling errors name changes – it seems my characters often don’t like the names I give them and as I get into the story they have an annoying tendency to rename themselves. I usually go along with their name changes. After all, I try to keep my characters happy since I pile so much misery on them, but I do need to make sure their name is the same throughout the story!

I have gone to these workshops for three years. I have gotten to the point that I know many of the writers and look forward to seeing them each year. I always learn a great deal. And sometimes I even return home with a novel idea! Best of all, in the midst of all my other writing, I know I will always get a chance to write short stories every year.

On November 26, the fun starts for this year as I will receive my first short story assignment for the 2019 workshop! Wish me luck!

Tonya