books / Writing

Putting Together an Anthology – Starting With an Idea that You Enjoy

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I thought I would write down some of my thoughts about putting together the Hunting Ghosts anthology I edited for Black Oak Media.  Read on if you enjoy this sort of thing.

First of all, I have to say that I am no expert at putting together an anthology.  This is not meant to be a super guide and I will talk about my multiple failings in later posts.

I started with was an idea.  I knew that I wanted to do something a little different.  No offense  to many of the great anthologies out there, but I was tired of seeing calls for stories that were basically generic zombie, vampire, werewolf, etc.  There are many great takes on these monsters out there, but there are plenty of bad.

I really like reading anthologies that are timely and have a new take on genre.  That was my hope when putting together one of my own.

Years ago, when I started dating my wife, she was a die hard Ghost Hunters fan.  She owned a few of the seasons on DVD and never missed an episode.  The DVD sets started being the thing I would buy her for holidays.

I always thought it was interesting as well, but the DVDs were never being watched.  Ghost hunting took off on TV and tons of new shows popped up.  It became easy to see a group hunting ghosts and I started looking for other things to get her that were not just DVDs that sat on the shelf.

Since I am a literature scholar, the first thing that came to mind was books.  There are a ton of books on ghost hunting out there.  I bought the few that were written by the guys from Ghost Hunters and their stories started me thinking about a collection of fiction based around the phenomenon.

Not hauntings themselves, there are tons of wonderful works of horror featuring ghosts out there (Turn of the Screw, The Haunting of Hill House, and Matheson’s work just to name a few).

I was interested in ghost hunting.  There have been books and films that feature these scientist/adventurers (the group from Poltergeist comes to mind very quickly), but I felt that there was more that could be told.

The tools, the personalities, the reasons behind why someone would call these people in or go out into the dark and try to have conversations with the dead.  This really got me thinking and writing my own stories.

This led me to forming an idea for an anthology around ghost hunting.  I thought about forming a group, giving it a name and making all the entries tie into that focus.  I have read anthologies like that before and many were successful.  Yet, I reminded myself that I am not an established name or an established press.  Who would jump to write stories based in a world or with a group that no one knew or would recognize?

So, I opened up the call for stories that revolved around the phenomenon of ghost hunting.

Now (as one can see from the anthology and I will talk about later), the final product moved away from that original vision, but the seed is there.

Next: Where to post Calls for Submissions.

Check out Hunting Ghosts HERE

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