Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sparking Ideas

I ran across an anthology call yesterday over at Duotrope that brought to mind a picture I'd clipped out of the Reader's Digest years ago.  The picture was of a young boy, maybe eight or ten years old, hung horizontally on a clothesline.  I always thought there was a great story in that picture.  If I were to write my story though, I doubt I'd submit it to this anthology because, 1. I think they're looking for more literary work than the story I've imagined and 2. because there's no payment, not even a copy of the book.  It's not that I haven't written for no payment before, I have.  But I believe that a press, no matter how small, should at least give the authors a copy of the anthology.  But that's just my two cents.

Here's the idea behind this call and the link:

"My mother always loved laundry lines; not because she enjoyed the task of hanging laundry, but because she loved the stories they had to tell. The history of a family as told by the work worn knees of a father’s coveralls, a pair of mended socks, a mother’s Sunday dress. The deception and lies behind a small stain on a child’s tee-shirt." http://www.scissorsandspackle.com/laundry-lines-anthology

One thing about anthology calls, even if you don't care to submit to a particular call for whatever reason, there's nothing stopping you from using that idea to spark a story for another market.  Literary markets are especially good for grabbing ideas that fit perfectly into genre stories.

And if any of you genre publishers out there are up for it, I'd love to see an anthology of crime stories sparked by that clothesline idea.  You could even throw in a bit of Western and Horror, maybe with a dash of Fantasy. :)  Maybe call it "Hung out to Dry".


Michael Bracken said...

"[T]here's no payment, not even a copy of the book."

At what point in recent history did a contributor's copy become considered a form of "payment"?

When I started writing, providing a contributor's copy--sometimes more than one--was considered such normal operating procedure that it was never (or quite rarely) mentioned in writers guidelines and calls for submission.

A contributor's copy is not, and should not be, a form of payment to a writer. It's a courtesy that publishers extend to their contributors. To treat it otherwise only further devalues the work of the writer.

sandra seamans said...

I didn't mean it as payment, Michael. I guess I phrased that badly. Like you, I see no reason why a contributor shouldn't receive a copy of the anthology their work is published in.

When a publisher doesn't provide a copy, I always suspect that they're publishing the anthology with only the writers as the major buyers.

sandra seamans said...

I've been thinking and maybe considering a copy as payment goes back to the literary zines that never pay in anything but copies. :) A writer is supposed to consider himself lucky just to be published in one of those reviews.

And at $16 to $25 a pop for a book plus the postage maybe those small presses that do give copies consider that payment enough for a story.

It's frustrating either way if you're trying to make a living with your writing. And even if you're not.

And it's sad that publishers put no value on short stories or their authors

Stephen D. Rogers said...

Hey Sandra,

I've had some luck lately sending my contributor copies to the electric company as payment. Or maybe it hasn't been working, since they sut me off.


sandra seamans said...

Those contribultor copies don't barter worth a damn, do they, Stephen? :)

Katherine Tomlinson said...

you had me at HUNG OUT TO DRY!!!!
i'd probably do something murderous with those "cute" pictures of socks with kittens in them hung up to dry.
Somebody MUST do this!

sandra seamans said...

It really does spark the imagination, doesn't it, Katherine? And I agree, it would be great if someone actually pulled this one together.