Late January (the 22nd for the eBook and the 23rd for the paperback) the anthology ‘Jurassic Attack’ was published by J Ellington Ashton Press. I am lucky enough to have the story, ‘Phased’ within its pages.
I thought I’d tell you about this collection as the submission was different to anything else I’ve tried before. Normally you see a call for submissions and there is a theme which you try and stick to. For ‘Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion’ the theme was steampunk and the need to link the story to the city of Bristol. ‘Avast, Ye Airships!’ – well that was make it steampunk with a sprinkling of pirates. You get the idea.
‘Jurassic Attack’ is based on a collection of cards from America. As a kid I was familiar with ‘The Garbage Pail Kids’ but other than collecting football (soccer) stickers I didn’t know they did these card collections. Furthermore, I did not realise that on the back of each picture card there was a small tale, and that each one made up a larger overall story.
So, when the opportunity to submit came up you had to choose a card. This is another of the odd things. Normally you would submit, wait for the deadline and hope your story might be good enough to be accepted. With this there was no guarantee of acceptance (the stories still had to be good enough) but once you had put your name to a card, it was yours to write the inspired story and no one else could do it.
The card I chose was this one…
I wasn’t allowed to copy the brief story on the back of the card but simply be inspired by the picture.
It was an interesting way of working. There was a point when I thought I didn’t want to write the story but since I’d laid claim to this card I felt obliged to keep going and get it written. I think that was a good thing because it forced me to write when I didn’t really feel like it. I believe that if you want to be successful with your writing you’ve got to write no matter what – even when you really don’t feel like it. As the author and editor extraordinaire Joanne Hall once said to me, ‘Writing is like going to the gym. You’ve got to do it regularly to feel any kind of benefit and to have any hope of getting any better at it.’
Anyhow, I thought I’d share how this one came about. I’m glad I did it and think it would make a really good writing exercise to hand out picture cards and write the tale that comes from it.
Luckily, despite my reticence, my story was accepted and very pleased I am about it too.