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Old 02-28-2014, 08:13 AM   #1
Katsunami
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MobileRead Short Story Anthology - [GUIDELINES]

In my thread about writing short stories, mrmarlowe suggested:

Quote:
Please, if someone comes with an anthology and is looking for a few contributors I'd be happy to add my 2 cents there.
I think it's actually a pretty neat idea. Combined with the fact that we're at the end of Febuari, it's a very nice point in time to get something started in March, so in this thread, an effort to create this anthology was started.

Number of participants at this time: 5
Participants: Katsunami, Graham, gmw, mrmarlowe, arjaybe
Current estimated length of the anthology: 40,000 words, 104 pages

Assuming each participant is going to use the 8,000 words allocated, we are now at 50% of the anthology's target size.

Please note: While it is possible to write a story and submit it on the very last day, I would suggest not doing this. Send me a PM as soon as possible if you wish to participate. The target of the anthology is 80,000 words, and though there is considerable leeway if necessary, it is not desirable that the book suddenly turns out to be huge. If you apply too late, your story might not be included anymore, on the sole basis that the book already sufficiently exceeded the target size. Thus, first come, first served

Please read the guidelines below if you wish to participate, and send me a personal message containing an e-mail address which I can use to invite you to the shared Dropbox folder.

Current rules/guidelines to participate in this anthology

The Project
- We'll be writing a short story anthology, created by MobileRead members.
- The main purpose of the project is learning about writing, editing and publishing.
- The secondary purpose of the project is actually getting the works out there.

Limits
- The stories submitted for this anthology should not have been published before.
- We'll target a length of about 80,000 words or +/- 200 paperback pages for the entire anthology.
- This could be increased or decreased, depending on the number of participants.
- Minimum story length: 2,000 words (+/- 5 pages)
- Suggested story length: 4,000-6,000 words (+/- 10-15 pages)
- Maximum story length: 8,000 words (+/- 20 pages)
- Maximum number of stories per author: 3 (+/- 8,000 words total)
- It is allowed to submit existing stories, or stories that can be improved by editing. It is not possible to submit a story and expect it to be included in the anthology as is. All stories will be reviewed and critiqued.
- It is recommended but not obligatory that each author writes at least one (1) new story, specifically for this trilogy.

Dates
- Last day for submitting the final first draft of the story/stories is Monday, March 31st, 2014.
- The review process will start at Tuesday, April 1, 2014, at the latest.
- Stories marked as "1.0" (drafting done) before these dates can be reviewed and edited sooner.
- The review process will take as long as needed, but the target is to have it done at Wednesday, April 30, 2014.
- As soon as reviewing and editing is done, I will start to compile the e-book.

Execution
- I will set up a shared Dropbox folder. Please PM me with your email address if you want to participate.
- A subfolder will be created for anyone who wishes to participate.
- Each author should create a document called "critique.doc" (or txt, odf...)
- This document describes how the author wishes to be critiqued. For example:
---- I will post 0.x versions, but please don't critique until 1.0.
---- Please critique 0.x versions by e-mail or PM only.
---- Critique however you want, I don't care.
---- I will post big milestones that can be critiqued privately/openly
- Starting April 1, all version 1.0 stories should be in, and they will all be reviewed, critiqued and edited openly.
- The final version, the one going to end up in the anthology, has to be posted in a format which can be opened by LibreOffice. Preferred formats are ODT/ODF, DOC, DOCX, RTF, TXT. Please don't post your final work as a PDF or, even worse, as a third party format that can only be read by specific software.
- I'd like to request Dr. Drib to sticky this thread, where organizational subjects can be discussed. I'll create another thread for editing and reviewing the stories, which could also be stickied.

Tips on Dropbox usage
- Dropbox has no security as far as I know. Any person invited into the Dropbox folder can see and change any subfolders. Make sure you have a backup of your own folder at least, outside of Dropbox. Mistakes happen. Someone could accidentally delete or change files.
- The above point, and especially the word "accidentally" implies that some care needs to be taken. My suggestion is as follows: if you are going to read other people's documents that can be changed by the software you're using (for example, reading a DOC-file in Microsoft Word), then make a copy of those documents first. Copy the participant's folder to your desktop, for example.
- Don't write the story directly inside Dropbox. Many people have notifications enabled, and each time you save, all other participants will be notified. Write the story outside of Dropbox, and copy the latest version in there after you're done with your session. Also, someone might open your document just before you intend to edit it, locking it in the process.
- If you are one of the people who will post work in progress versions, you can post them in any format you like, as long as you're reasonably certain that this format can be opened by the other participants.

Terms regarding the anthology
- After the Anthology is complete, it will be posted using my name:
---- In the MobileRead Library
---- At Smashwords
---- At Amazon
---- Possibly, other stores or websites.
- The anthology will not have any DRM.
- The authors can post the anthology to their personal websites. They cannot post the anthology to their seperate Smashwords/Amazon stores, because stores could end up with several copies under different names, which against the Terms of Service of some stores (one of them being Smashwords).
- The names of all the contributors will be put directly after the title page.
- The authors can have their e-mail address, website, and (main) store mentioned in the credits.
- If there are not too many authors, all names could be put onto the cover as well. The cover and the title is the last part of the book we'll make any decisions about.
- The stories in the anthology will have exclusivity for six (6) months.
- The authors are not giving up any rights on their stories to me, except for the six months exclusivity period of the anthology.
- After these six months, the authors can do whatever they want with the seperate stories; even edit them into a version 2.0 and sell them.
- The anthology will be freely available forever in it's final form, and not sold by me or one of the contributors. (Except, of course, for a price of $0.00, as some store systems do not allow "free" wares.)

Archive, first draft rules/guidelines
Spoiler:

I was thinking along the following lines.

Outline of the anthology development process

- Every author gets the same amount of words allocated, to use for one or more stories.

- The anthology would be at least 200 paperback pages long. Calibre's Count Pages plugin tells me that this comes down to approximately 80.000 words.

- Any story can be submitted: Fantasy, SF, Crime, Thriller, Horror, Mistery, Romance...; stories that are explicitly pornographic, violent to the extreme, racist and so on will be prohibited from inclusion. Use your common sense: if MR doesn't allow it in a post, it's probably not a good idea to put it in a story either.

- The stories can be new ones, or old stories that never got published for whatever reason; stories that already were published in the past, would not be included in this bundle.

- We could start by March 1st, with final submission date of a story being March 31, 23:59, Dutch time. (Suggestion: possible to change.)

- The stories could be posted into a shared Dropbox during the time of writing, so each participant can always see all the stories and developments, and give advice or use the critique to their advantage.

- Starting April 1st, up to April 30th, (possible to change), the stories wouldn't be changed in a big way anymore; no more adding or deleting scenes, no more grand restructuring or rewriting; only fixing of the language and improvement of the writing itself.

- Starting May 1st (possible to change), I'll combine them all into an ebook. (Someone would need to create a cover; or we'd need to come up with something. Maybe I could take my camera out of it's bag again after almost a year.)

- After that is done, the work can be released for free by each author, on his website, Goodreads page, Smashwords, Amazon, Gutenberg, and so on. It would also be posted into the MobileRead library. (btw: is it allowed that a book is posted by more than one author, on Amazon/Smashwords, or whatever?)

This anthology would not be used to earn money. The purpose would be (mainly) to get one's name out there, be it a new author or one more established needing a bit of an attention boost

What do you think?

PS: Averaging my calculations in Calibre, it seems that one can expect around 385 words per page. A work 80K words long would be around 207 paperback pages long.

Update: Current suggestions:

- DON'T attach the stories to your posts. I see Dr. Drib already removed one of them. I didn't realise that this would be seen as author promotion outside of the proper subforum.
- A minimum of 80,000 words (~200 paperback pages) is the target of the entire anthology.
- I hope to get at least 10 participants.
- The above statement means that each participant will be allocated 8,000 words to be used for one or two stories.
- Suggested minimum length of one story: 4,000 words, ~ 10 pages
- Suggested maximum length of one story: 8,000 words, ~20 pages
- Each author may contribute one or two stories, using the number of words between them as you see fit. The number of words is a guideline.
- A participant should submit one (1) new story; an older story of 8,000 words long is not as intended; this anthology is as much about the writing process as it is about getting it full of stories. Sumbitting a 4,000 word new story and a 4,000 word older story is OK.
- If the author has his own world/universe/multiverse already, the story can be set in this world, but it must be readable and understandable without prior knowledge of this world.
- If there are less than 10 participants, the number of stories per author or amount of allocated words could become larger.

Last edited by Katsunami; 03-05-2014 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:29 PM   #2
mrmarlowe
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I am on it. Let me know when you get it started. I already have an unpublished ghost story, but if you don't like it, I can write something new.

[Link deleted - send him a PM - MODERATOR]

Last edited by Dr. Drib; 02-28-2014 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:38 PM   #3
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As far as I'm concerned, it has already started. Any details can be worked out or finalized later. If you have something already, just attach it to your first post

The one thing is that the short story should be a short story; it shouldn't be flash fiction (under a 1000 words), nor overly long.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:40 PM   #4
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I'll be watching this.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
As far as I'm concerned, it has already started. Any details can be worked out or finalized later. If you have something already, just attach it to your first post

The one thing is that the short story should be a short story; it shouldn't be flash fiction (under a 1000 words), nor overly long.
I suggest you put a number (range) on it to properly set expectations. Like 5,000 to 10,000 words or something.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
As far as I'm concerned, it has already started. Any details can be worked out or finalized later. If you have something already, just attach it to your first post

The one thing is that the short story should be a short story; it shouldn't be flash fiction (under a 1000 words), nor overly long.
So...is the 80,000 word minimum in the first post a typo then?

Edit

...and I just realized that 80,000 words is the total size of the anthology, not each story.

Last edited by Ninjalawyer; 02-28-2014 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:51 PM   #7
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I see some clarification and adjustment is already in order I'll keep the first post updated.

- DON'T attach the stories to your posts. I see Dr. Drib already removed one of them. I didn't realise that this would be seen as author promotion outside of the proper subforum.
- Indeed, a minimum of 80,000 words (~200 paperback pages) is the target of the entire anthology.
- I hope to get 10 participants, allocating 20 pages to each.
- The above statement means that each participant will be allocated 8,000 words to be used for one or more stories.
- Minimum length of one story: 4,000 words, ~ 10 pages
- Maximum length of one story: 8,000 words, ~20 pages
- Each author may contribute one or two stories, using the number of words between them as you see fit. The number of words is a guideline.
- If there are less than 10 participants, the number of stories per author or amount of allocated words could become larger.

I can imagine that people might want to share their work in progress. How about me setting up a shared Dropbox/Copy.com folder, so we don't need to e-mail or PM stuff around?

Last edited by Katsunami; 02-28-2014 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:10 PM   #8
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It's an interesting idea. I've just been testing it against the MR guidelines. It sounds as though any sharing of the stories during the review phase would need to be by PM, though critique in this sub-forum would presumably be fine.

It's difficult to see how the whole project could be discussed here without it being self-promotion, but perhaps that's OK as it's not intended to be an anthology for sale.

Do you think it would be worth a quick PM to the mods to check that the planned process and goal will be acceptable?

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Old 02-28-2014, 03:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham View Post
It's an interesting idea. I've just been testing it against the MR guidelines. It sounds as though any sharing of the stories during the review phase would need to be by PM, though critique in this sub-forum would presumably be fine.

It's difficult to see how the whole project could be discussed here without it being self-promotion, but perhaps that's OK as it's not intended to be an anthology for sale.

Do you think it would be worth a quick PM to the mods to check that the planned process and goal will be acceptable?
Maybe it would be best to PM one of the mods; I'll do so in a moment.

I think discussion of the stories themselves would need to be done using PM's, otherwise they will be all spoiled for MR members that are following the thread, but I think general discussion on story writing could be done in this thread.

For example, a more experienced author such as Vydor sees someone else doing something which could be considered bad writing, he could raise that as a point to watch out for.

Like: I've seen one of the authors do [XYZ] in his story, which is not a good idea because:
1: ...
2: ...
3: ...

It also works the other way around; other participants can be asking advice.

In such a way, no plot points would be given away, and all participants (and lurkers) benefit from this. I certainly would. I wrote a lot of stuff during the last 15 years, but that was all technical material, manuals, and documentation; I never wrote fiction apart from some tryouts.

Indeed, the anthology is not intended to be for sale. It would be... complicated.... to split the royalties of a €2.99 book between 10+ writers, especially if the anthology is published at several places at once. I certainly wouldn't want to do it. My motivation to try something like this is to lower the bar for people to try and write something, having it reviewed and (some sort of) proofread/edited by others, and then actually get it out there, learning as much as possible in the process.

Therefore, I'd appreciate it if a few of the more experienced authors of this subforum would participate; it would be quite instructive.

As each member will get an EPUB copy of the book, it will have to be taken on good faith that they will keep the anthology posted for free (or "sell" it for $0.00), and leave the stories in there as they were at the time of finalizing the book; otherwise we might end up with 10 different versions of the same book, which is obviously undesirable.

Last edited by Katsunami; 02-28-2014 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 02-28-2014, 04:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
My motivation to try something like this is to lower the bar for people to try and write something, having it reviewed and (some sort of) proofread/edited by others, and then actually get it out there, learning as much as possible in the process.
Agreed. MobileRead feels like a supportive environment for this, and those of us just starting out would really benefit from some critical reading - even if just by those of us involved in the project.

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Old 02-28-2014, 04:20 PM   #11
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Agreed. MobileRead feels like a supportive environment for this, and those of us just starting out would really benefit from some critical reading - even if just by those of us involved in the project.
True enough; though I'm proud to say that my English is quite good, I'm hardly a native speaker. I wouldn't be surprised if I have some weirdness in my writing that would go unnoticed by most, but would be blatantly obvious to a native speaker.

By the way, I've just dispatched a PM to Alexander Turcic to see what he thinks of this effort. I can hardly imagine that he and the other mods decide that they don't want to allow this project, but I did ask if he would be for, or against it to have MR mentioned in the anthology. I could think of some reasons for both points of view.
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Old 03-01-2014, 07:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
I see some clarification and adjustment is already in order I'll keep the first post updated.

- DON'T attach the stories to your posts. I see Dr. Drib already removed one of them. I didn't realise that this would be seen as author promotion outside of the proper subforum.
- Indeed, a minimum of 80,000 words (~200 paperback pages) is the target of the entire anthology.
- I hope to get 10 participants, allocating 20 pages to each.
- The above statement means that each participant will be allocated 8,000 words to be used for one or more stories.
- Minimum length of one story: 4,000 words, ~ 10 pages
- Maximum length of one story: 8,000 words, ~20 pages
- Each author may contribute one or two stories, using the number of words between them as you see fit. The number of words is a guideline.
- If there are less than 10 participants, the number of stories per author or amount of allocated words could become larger.

I can imagine that people might want to share their work in progress. How about me setting up a shared Dropbox/Copy.com folder, so we don't need to e-mail or PM stuff around?

I'll make this comment as a moderator:

He didn't attach his story; rather, he put a link in to his site that deals in poetry and asked everyone to take a look. That was not in keeping with the spirit of post #1. His link and comment was seen as a promotional post.

Further thoughts: I don't think we can allow short stories to be uploaded here, as that would cause 'reams of clutter' to fill Mobileread, and then (of course), there would undoubtedly be the attempt by someone to make a promotional post in a thread that has nothing to do with promotion. (And, of course, our guidelines for self-promotion prohibit any promotion outside of the Self-Promotion forum....)

Your suggestion about a Dropbox/Copy.com folder seems viable.

Your project sounds like a worthwhile project.


Don
[Moderator]

Last edited by Dr. Drib; 03-01-2014 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 03-01-2014, 09:43 AM   #13
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Thanks Don, it sounds like we're thinking along the right lines.

I don't think we could get round the activity around the project being in itself a sort of self-promotion, but taking the entire thing off MobileRead would rather defeat the object.

Hopefully if we keep the stories themselves outside, and just discuss here the project and any interesting insights into writing, editing and formatting an ebook that emerge, there would be enough interesting posts to make it a worthwhile contribution to the forum.

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Old 03-01-2014, 11:18 AM   #14
Dr. Drib
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You're right on target with what you said in your last paragraph. All of those apsects can help unite the writing community here at Mobileread.

As a project - yes, it's promotional in nature, much like the one that VydorScope started, which was also the genesis for this current project.

The spirit and heart of this program will be those posts centered on what you said in your last paragraph.


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Old 03-01-2014, 11:55 AM   #15
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As it turned out I had a hard time sleeping last night ... and an idea for a story came to me. But, as I've mentioned elsewhere, my brain seems to be tuned for very short stories. I see this one "fleshing out" at maybe 2500 words. I'd worry about having it seem "padded" if I try to push it beyond that. So if 4000 words is going to be a firm minimum I'll have to go back to the drawing board.

Also, with regard to publication -- I have no problem with it being Free, so if it is published as a free anthology at a place like Smashwords it wouldn't be necessary to provide an epub to each author -- we could just download our own, in whatever format we want. But, since each author would retain copyright to his/her own story, I don't think anyone else could make the whole anthology available without each author's permission. But each author could make his/her own story available as a stand-alone story under whatever terms they want -- unless we agree otherwise. In fact, I'd like to do this myself, although I'd have no trouble agreeing to give the anthology a six month period of exclusivity.

Thoughts?
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