Thursday, June 6, 2013

Guest Author Roland Allnach on Anthologies

Writing an Anthology

by Roland Allnach, author of ‘Remnant’ and ‘Oddities & Entities’

Writing anthologies is something I’ve enjoyed, for the very fact that anthologies constitute a unique form of literary expression.  Anthologies themselves can be broken down into two types, from the unrelated collection of short fiction, to the more elusive, but perhaps all the more satisfying, thematically linked anthology.  I chose the latter path with my first two books, ‘Remnant’ and ‘Oddities & Entities’.  Today I’d like to discuss ‘Remnant’, which consists of three novellas in the sci-fi and speculative genres.

The publication of ‘Remnant’ is a bit of a chicken and egg story.  I had made some efforts to find stand alone publication for each of the three novellas that would eventually constitute ‘Remnant’.  At that point of my writing career I had a good number of short story publication credits, and I felt I was ready to make a move toward book publication.  I had several manuscripts to work with, but I wanted to go with what I felt was the strongest material I had at that time.  Given my enjoyment of anthologies, I had the idea of putting some stories together to form my own collection.  What that was, or what form it would take, was a bit of an open question.

My next step was to find a publisher.  I wanted to go small press, because I knew I had a lot to learn about books, which only served to tell me that there was probably a great deal more to know than I could imagine.  The freedom of small press seemed the perfect environment in which to learn the ropes of the book world.  So, I did my research, made a short list, and then took a hard look to learn the preferences of the publishers on my short list.  That’s when the chicken and egg factor came into play.  When I was looking into All Things That Matter Press, I found that they were not only receptive to anthologies but that they were open to some of the themes I enjoy to explore when I write.  I went back to my available stories and, after some consideration, I realized using those themes was all the guidance I needed to select the three novellas for ‘Remnant’.

The linkage was there, but the stories needed some work.  With a clear idea of the greater ideas I wanted to portray through the course of the three independent stories, I then refined the plots and characters to keep the narrative focused to the emotional arc that would suffuse the book.  Notions of redemption and self-truth among morally corrupt situations propel the stories.  Once I felt it was the best I could possibly make it, I sent ‘Remnant’ off, and I was thrilled to have it accepted for publication by All Things That Matter Press.

I consider an anthology a form of creative expression akin to how we often view life itself.  Our existence is a mosaic of diverse people and events, yet we have a natural inclination in our subjective thought to tie all those various moments together.  So, while our memory is composed of many little stories, those stories together tell something greater, they tell who we are.  It’s a handy comparison, and it fostered the mental exercise necessary to maintain the linkage between the stories of the book.

Anthologies are a reading experience somewhat outside the norm, but I like to think that I’ve offered readers a distinct kind of literary journey.  Besides, I like to explore some of the stranger paths of existence when I write.  As an author, I find endless possibilities in those considerations, odd as they may be.

As the old saying goes, I chose a path less traveled, and I’ve found it to be worth the effort.

 Title:  Remnant:  An Anthology
Author:  Rolnd Allnach
Publisher: All Things That Matter Press (November 11, 2010)
Length: 218 pges
Subgenres:  Sci-Fi /Fantasy

 A stirring, thought provoking anthology of three novellas within the speculative/science fiction genres. The stories are linked in theme by characters seeking self- truth, redemption, and their moral center.   The novellas, in order ofappearance, are: “All the Fallen Angels”, in which a convicted war criminal attempts to make peace with his past; “Enemy, I Know You Not”, in which a military officer that was captured and tortured tries to find his loyalty in an abyss of suspected betrayals; and “Remnant”, in which the survivor of a global pandemic is confronted with the prospect of making peace with hismemories when other survivors attempt to bring him back from self-imposed isolation.


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