08 April, 2013

3 into 1 Anthology

We've all been there: you buy a book and when it arrives in the post, turns out... you're in it!

Last year, at some point when I needed a fun and short project to stretch my brain in between novel drafts, I entered the 3 into 1 Short Story Competition. This was a contest, judged by authors Michael Dobbs and Adele Geras, to write a story which linked a black queen chess piece, a bunch of fresh flowers and a 10 pound note.

I decided to write something in a different style/genre than my usual stuff. I often do something experimental between novel drafts, which is fun but usually means the stories aren't as slick as they might be. Sure enough, I wasn't a prize-winner. I was a little disappointed, of course, but not awfully surprised and I'd really enjoyed writing a bit of humour for once in my entry The Final Observations of George Postlethwaite.

Fast-forward a few months and the anthology of stories was produced. My blogging friend Dan Purdue had won second prize (which I was very pleased about in a teeth-gritted kind of way!) and so I decided to buy the anthology. Dan's a good writer and I enjoy his short stories, so his presence in the book - coupled with the famous judges - assured me this would be an anthology worth reading, as well as being a good literary way to donate to charity (the competition and anthology are in aid of The Arthrogryposis Group).

Well, imagine my surprise last week when I received the anthology to find The Final Observations of George Postlethwaite in it! I knew there had been a lot of entries so I had assumed my story just hadn't cut the mustard this time. The judges said they had picked the top 50 fairly easily, but then had trouble whittling that down to a shortlist of their top 20. I had no idea I'd even made the 50 cut, let alone the 20. So that was a lovely surprise - to get another small publishing credit to my name.

I'm saving the anthology for holiday reading next month, but if you're looking for a new collection of short stories to read and fancy supporting a charity to the tune of £10 (including P&P) you can buy the anthology here. I have to admit, flicking through my story I've spotted a handful of formatting issues/typos that aren't in my original manuscript, but in general it looks like a well-produced book (and I'd rather they used the money for the charity than for multiple rounds of proof-reading anyway). I like the snazzy cover and it's nice and thick - a lot of charity anthologies contain very few pages for a lot of money and rely purely on goodwill, this one works out at only £0.55 per story!

11 comments:

  1. Yay, what a lovely surprise :)

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  2. Yes, I've had this problem a ton of times. And I'm getting sick of being published without knowing it. ;)

    That is so cool. I'm pretty sure if it happened to me, my mouth would drop. And I'd use the next five minutes re-reading to see if that was really my name and my story.

    What a wonderful surprise. And congrats on getting published.

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    1. I know, right? Practically every book I buy it's like, "Damn, it's happened AGAIN! You guys have got to stop publishing me like this." Heh heh - thanks!

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  3. Congrats! I don't think I submit enough to ever have this happen to me. I constantly STALK the competitions etc I sub to. Looks like a good anthology, what's your story about?

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    1. I'm definitely trying to submit more. The last couple of years I've only submitted a very small handful of things a year, whereas somebody told me you're not really a writer until you're getting three rejections a week! At the moment I'm going through some of my old stories to see if I can whip any into magazine shape.

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    2. Oh, and my story is about a man lying on the floor, convinced he's dying. He's thinking about all the causes of his death. One day the line, "The cause of his death was probably Tuesday", came into my head and the story went from there.

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  4. Sweet! How odd that that they hadn't thought to tell you. Surely it's a common courtesy? Lucky you bought h book :) Well done.

    Nari X

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    1. I do wonder whether they told me and it got caught by my spam filter because the e-mail they sent telling me about the anthology being on sale was just a single line saying "please click on this link". I almost deleted it until I recognised the name of the file! Who knows?! I'm sure they meant to tell people otherwise that's a big potential market lost!

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