Exposing the Bones

Archaeologists digging up some text

Over at MobileRead, a group of us are creating an anthology of short stories in public.

We'll go through the whole process of writing, criticism, editing, layout and marketing in full view of the forum. The goal is to end up with an ebook of about 80,000 words which will be available free on MobileRead, Smashwords and Amazon. MobileRead has sensible restrictions on self-promotion, so we had to vet the process with the moderators, but the consensus is that this would be an interesting exercise - and possibly very valuable for the other authors on the site.

Making mistakes in public...

Scary.

To date I've been reluctant to share first drafts with anyone at all, so it's unnerving to be showing them to a group of people that I don't really know for criticism. What's more, we agreed that we'd put incremental versions of the stories up for the group to follow - even before they get to a satisfactory first draft. We are allowed to request that no comments be made until the first draft is marked as complete, but it's still a very exposed way to write.

The drafts themselves aren't available outside the group, but the criticism and discussion is. The threads will still be around once the book is published, of course, allowing readers to review how the contents developed.

My first contribution, a science fiction tale called "Planting the Flag", is at version 0.2 so far. The story's complete but I'm reworking a few elements, and I'm considering changing the gender of the central character. Hopefully it will be up for comment this weekend.

We've still got room for a few more authors - we're aiming for ten contributors providing 8,000 words each - so please contact me if you want to get involved.