Molly Neely, author of “The Sand Dweller,” shared some exciting information with me this week. Shaun Jooste, a writer in South Africa, has applied to the Guinness Book of World Records to attempt to publish an anthology of short stories with the most contributors. His application was accepted! To beat the record, he must have 50 contributors, but what’s the fun in that? He’s going for 100, so the record can’t be taken away any time soon.
He already has OVER a hundred people signed up.
All we need to do is write a short story, in any genre, of between 3000 and 8000 words.
That’s all? As a writer for children, my biggest obstacle is ELIMINATING words, getting the word count DOWN. Now I’m being challenged to ADD words.
May I scream now?
My first thought was to combine two of my family tall tales, “Watermelon Seeds” and “The Blue-Eyed Bullfrog.” They’re about 1500 words each – still 1000 words short. So I was providing some more detail and a segue between the two.
Only to discover…
Stories published in this anthology can’t be published anywhere else. That’s a Guinness rule, and that’s a problem. First of all, “Watermelon Seeds” has already been published on my CD of the same name. Secondly…
I simply can’t give away my favorite stories in my favorite genre.
What to do, what to do?
I want those bragging rights associated with being in the Guinness Book of World Records.
So… I searched through my computer files to see if I had something appropriate. I found a file from 2007 called “Maggie’s Backstory.”
Many years ago I was attempting to write a novel. In this novel, almost everyone in the world disappears – no explanation, they just aren’t there one morning. The story is about how a group of survivors find each other. I was having (am still having) trouble with the main character. After I wrote this backstory, I decided Maggie wasn’t the character I wanted.
So the file got buried.
Now, as I read through it, I find that, with a few changes, it could work! And it’s already over 4000 words!
It’s around 18 single spaced pages, but the last few pages are just notes. The deadline isn’t until August 31. I will, of course, finish way before then – I love being ahead of schedule.
Then, yesterday, Shaun Jooste posted this:
“… I proposed the following which was accepted. Celenic Earth Publications will hold the rights for the entire volume. No one is to share their or anyone’s stories until we break the record. Once the record is confirmed (or we fail), writers will have their rights to their stories returned. You won’t have to buy it back, as there are no royalty payouts.
However… and this needs to be crystal clear… Celenic Earth Publications will retain full rights to the entire volume. What this means is, you can do whatever you want with your sole story after we get the record, but you cannot share the entire volume. You will be infringing on the rights of the publisher and the other writers who have not given you permission to share their work.”
Makes perfect sense to me. I’m glad there was the misunderstanding at the beginning. It gave me a chance to do something out of my comfort zone – a melodramatic tragic love story.
It’s all working out quite nicely.
last night I got some good feedback from Diego Cadena and today I wrote another 1000 words.