Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Writing Group Anthology

My local writing group is publishing its second anthology this month, The Wreck of the U913 and Other Dark Tales.

For the last several years, we have been meeting in person once a month, for a leisurely Saturday breakfast,
and exchange numerous e-mails. We have a core group of four members, with a few other people who have drifted through from time to time.

Last summer, we decided to venture into self-publishing with a Halloween-themed anthology, Swamp Mansion and Other Dark Tales, which is available on Amazon for 99 cents. Our goal was not to make a great deal of money (thank goodness—although we’ve pretty much covered expenses, we certainly aren’t making much!) but we loved doing it, and seeing our work “out there” was well worth the effort.

For this year, we debated producing a Christmas anthology, but decided instead to have a paranormal theme. Each of us wrote a story for it—although one ambitious member wrote two—and we presented them to one another at our monthly breakfast.

We discovered we had two werewolf stories. Both of them, interestingly enough, involving geriatric werewolves. One of them was mine. We could ask the other two to write werewolf stories go with an entire werewolf-themed volume, or one of us could write another story to replace one of the werewolf ones.

The non-werewolf stories were really good. One of them, the title story, concerned an underwater treasure-hunting team attempting to retrieve a suspected gold shipment in the wreck of a German submarine from WWII. That involved a lot of detailed research.

Another hit the classic themes of good deeds rewarded and bullies defeated.

We decided to shelve one of the werewolf stories. Since I had already started on another story that would
be appropriate, I finished that one up. In the aftermath of a riot in an aging prison, suspected participants are housed in segregation cells to await disciplinary hearings. Old solitary confinement cells in the cellar, which haven’t been used for decades, are re-opened. One of them may be a portal to hell.

Everyone participates in all stages of editing. While each author has control over his or her own story, we’ve never hit a place where anyone was in such disagreement that we didn’t all approve it.

When we were all happy with the stories, we moved on to other, practical matters. One of our members knows how to upload books onto Amazon, but none of us are comfortable with cover design or formatting, so we hired people to do that for us, as we did for the previous anthology.

The Wreck of U 913 and Other Dark Tales will be available on Amazon soon for 99 cents. Once again, we don’t expect to make much money off this. But we are having a great time. Look for a third one next fall!

Do you belong to a writing or reading group? Have you ever considered publishing an anthology of your works?


  1. Sounds like a great read. As soon as I saw the title I said, hum, isn't that wreck of the NC coast? Can't take the girl out of the water. I will definitely have to journey to Amazon and pick this anthology up. Sounds like you have a great (and productive) writing group.

  2. Having fun is the name of the game if you’re not trying for big bucks, and it sounds as though the four of you are. Best enjoyment on your next anthologies.

    ~ Jim

  3. I've mentioned to my local SinC chapter that it would be nice to put out an anthology, however, few people seemed interested. I also suggested something to my local writers group, but I'm the only one who writes mysteries and only one other person writes short stories, too, so my suggestion hasn't gone far. I'm not going to give up, though.

    I think both of your anthologies sound intriguing, and like Jim mentioned, it's having fun that's the most important part of doing this.

  4. Your anthology sounds terrific. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  5. I'm looking forward to reading it, too! How did your group ever arrive on such an unlikely title and topic? It's all mystery?

  6. Kait, the wreck is a fictional one--U 913 was due to be the next sub the Nazis built, but never was (that's the researcher among us, who tried to make sure that, even though his story is fictional, he has his facts straight. I'm sure there is a U something or other wrecked off the NC coast. I remember reading something about it. It is a great group--I'm lucky to have found it!

  7. Yes, Jim, we thoroughly enjoy one another's company and have fun with the anthologies, not to mention the leisurely breakfasts (crepes, anyone?) and, oh yeah, the help with our writing.

  8. Keep at it, Gloria--sooner or later some of the people in your Sinc group (or another group) may decide to join you in an anthology. Since you already know how to format your books, have someone who can do covers for you, and put your own up on Amazon, you're a good deal closer to making an anthology a reality than we were when we started.

  9. Marilyn, if you get the anthology, I hope you enjoy it!

  10. EB, the group decided on a paranormal theme (not necessarily mystery) and went from there. The title comes from the first story finished. It's the longest by a good shot, so seemed a natural for both first in the anthology and the title. The author has an interest in military history, and is working on a Chinese spy novel set in the 1970's when he lived in China.