November 7, 2011

How To Write A Crime Fiction Anthology: A Guest Post

Since, my lovely followers, I am stressed out by future career stuff, I will take a step back and allow some fresh perspective on my blog. A guest post.

*oohs and ahhs*

This particular guest post is by the oh-so-clever John Hansen, the editor of The Agency: An Anthology and mystery author of several self-published works including: Lobotomy and The Murder. They both have received five star reviews stating of his brilliance and mastery of the criminal arts. He also has a blog here.

So without further ado, here's the crime master himself: John Hansen!

Please give a round of applause!

*peanut gallery cheers him on!*




How To Write A Crime Fiction Anthology

You are all familiar with anthologies. Maybe you love them, maybe you hate them, or maybe you are on the fence about them. Nevertheless, you are familiar with them. But haven’t you ever wondered about how an anthology is put together from an editing author who is undergoing that process this very moment?

Most often an anthology is put together this way: the editing author picks a theme, requests submissions, chooses their favorites of those submissions, contacts the winning authors to congratulate them, retrieves the rights to the stories, organizes these stories in whichever order they see fit (most often the two of the best stories are first and the other two are last, then the rest are in between) and once everything is set, the anthology is ready for publication. This is the most common method for organizing anthologies and in many ways, the easiest. Most publishers use this for creating anthologies, yes, but through this same old, boring routine, you’ll have the same old, boring anthology as a product. 

By simply choosing a theme and requesting submissions, an editing author and any chosen authors will not have a chance to really connect with the entire anthology and its theme which makes for a less appealing collection. The editing author may come across a few incredible stories when skimming through submissions but without allowing the anthology to grow with the authors as it should in the start, the stories will be completely different from each other and not at all intertwined, which makes for a weak collection because to all you anthology skeptics, this method is why you hate anthologies: you start a story and just when you are getting into it, it ends and you have to begin a new story without any relation to its predecessor.

I, too, hate this and that is why I’m doing something completely different with my anthology. Instead of doing the above, I decided to begin completely from scratch. I didn’t have a theme, I didn’t have any authors, I just knew that I wanted to create a crime fiction anthology that would be different from anything anyone had ever seen. With that dream in mind, I assembled a team of phenomenal crime fiction authors whose worked I was already with and madly in love with, all who wanted to be included in this daring idea I proposed. 

And so it began. 

We worked as unit for a good couple of weeks, brainstorming the most innovative themes and ideas for the anthology we could think of. It was a group effort and was extremely effective, especially because it allowed the authors to bond with each other and their writing styles as well as the anthology itself. Obviously, this makes for an exceptional finished product. It was not until about three weeks after the start of the anthology that we decided on a theme, given to us by the brilliant David Lascelles, but we all fell madly in love with it. The idea fit seamlessly with our topic of making this anthology utterly unique and innovative. It took another week to work out all of the kinks of the anthology together, although the cover (which was made by a generous person who does not want her name disclosed) and title were the result of my impatience. 

From there, every author was required to come up with an idea, send it to me for critique and once it was approved, they were permitted to begin writing. With just about all ideas approved, we are currently at that step of the process – writing the piece – but from what I have read of some of these stories – all of which have a unique, suspenseful plot full of twists – I am extremely excited for the outcome of this anthology and I have high hopes for its future. After we finish writing our pieces, we plan to swap them with each other for edits, give criticism, make changes and swap them again. 

As you can see, through my method of creating an anthology, there will undoubtedly be a strong result because the authors have a chance to bond with each other, the anthology, and learn from each other’s writing style. Each author has a unique perspective to bring to the table – after all, that’s why I chose them – and when all of these perspectives are pooled together into one anthology, you get an imaginably phenomenal outcome. After the rigors of the editing stage are complete, we’ll be submitting to publishers. I have received a number of questions regarding where we’ll be publishing the anthology. And I say the same thing to all of them: we aren’t sure yet. 

We will be rather picky about publishers, but will submit to them nevertheless and if we find a good publisher match that all of us would be happy with, we’ll definitely go with that. However, if we aren’t pleased with any of the publishers who make us offers (if they do), we will definitely self-publish via Amazon, Smashwords and Createspace and have the anthology available there. We also plan to make a print copy available for any of you interested. So since you have sat through me rambling about this ambiguous anthology of mine, you must be wondering what this anthology is about. As a response, I present you the tentative blurb:

“Mur•der
[mur-der]
-noun
The premeditated killing of one human by another


But what about those that are more than just killings? Those incomprehensible murders that dumbfound your ordinary police detective? Those murders that you don’t even know about? Yet.
Based all around the world, “The Agency” is a detective agency investigating the most strange and puzzling murders that you have never heard of. Reality will come into question most certainly and so will everything you thought you knew. Watch as these thirteen detectives dive into the unknown in pursuit of the killers they think they have found. But there is no guarantee that they'll come back alive...
These twelve compelling minds bring you thirteen suspenseful tales of murder, betrayal and deceit that will send your mind reeling and will have you begging for more.”

Like the sound of this anthology? Be sure to visit our official website and subscribe to our posts. Also, be sure to leave a comment on our “Show Your Support” page saying that this anthology is something you’d like to purchase in the future (don’t worry, we won’t hold you to anything) when it’s available. Are you on Goodreads? Please don’t forget to mark the anthology as a to-read on our official Goodreads page.

Any questions? Comments? Concerns? Does this anthology appeal to you? Please leave a comment! Thanks!

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