Short Story Collections have grown very popular in the last few months. I don’t know whether it’s the pandemic, loss of concentration, or just not having to settle down to something you don’t know you’ll like.
I set out about eighteen months ago to catalogue all my flash fiction pieces on the blog. I tallied around 350, and I was still writing them, albeit not every week at that time. I found a few themes in them, and started thinking about some short story collections.
Collecting the stories together
The best collections I’ve enjoyed have been relatively short, 25,000 words or so. So that’s what I aimed to put together.
|Beasts||All those stories where the main characters are animals, or it’s me interacting with the animals in my garden (fantasy or not). And the ones where the insects take centre stage, or there’s a virus killing everyone off – oops|
|Time||There are plenty where I involve some sort of time travel; and suddenly I reliased that Sir Woebgone’s trick of travelling through space is also time travel, which gave me a place to collect his adventures|
|Explorers||Apart from the Carruthers stories and his clones, there are also several much lighter stories where people have discovered something that brings them to a sticky end, or trophies that they would have been better off without. I also put my visions of Hell in here|
|Simply weird||How to characterise the Horse-drawn Lighthouse, where a nameless superpower turns up and wrecks the wreckers? Stories that might belong with the explorers, but don’t have the element of greed they have. My Boxcar mysteries fit that category, although not all were up to standard, I felt.|
|Christmas||I felt I should keep the Christmas stories for a seasonal outing; and any others that involved wintry weather and snow.|
|Climate change||Some of these belong in time travel, and a couple are animal stories, but increasing I want to bring more climate change elements into my stories. It’s a pretty big field, after all|
|Fantasy||I have several pure fantasy stories that don’t necessarily fit with weird (although one does). If I write a few more, there’s some potential for a further volume here|
I brought the first four out between March and July 2021. Roughly one a month. It was a tough call, but it kept me busy! Then I wanted to get the seasonal one out in October, so I got to work on that in the summer, but realised it needed more stories. I wrote three, rejected one, and brought in some help from the Viridian series gang, and from Willoughby the Narrator.
It turns out I hadn’t published all the stories I’ve written about the Princelings world after all. I still haven’t. There may be scope for a collection of those stories. Although I did bring out the Dylan, Deirdre and Dougall adventures–the Messenger Misadventures–in April.
It’s also possible that I’ll unpublish the Viridian System Sampler, and revamp the rest of the stories to form a new Viridian System short story collection. That largely depends on where I go with my science fiction plans.
The fifth in the collection–now listed as the Unexpected Twisty Tales series–is out on October 7th 2021, and that is Snowflakes and Shivers.
I hope readers enjoy them.