Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Interesting Decision to Make

I've got a decision to make and I'm stumped. No, it doesn't have to do with the title contest for the new Powers collection(although that's going to be tough too, because there are a lot of good entries so far). My dilemma is that I have to decide on the order that the stories in the book will appear.

My first reaction was to make it simple: have the first half of the book the published stories, and then the second half the unpublished ones. Or visa versa. But then I wonder whether this is a good idea. Will people tend to think that the unpublished stories won't have 'merit' because they weren't published and use that preconceived notion when they're reading them?

Another is to do chronological, but that's a problem because some of the unpublished stories don't have any records as to when they were written.

Another idea is to just make it random. Or alphabetical order.

I'm still leaning towards the first idea (half/half), but I'd appreciate any comments on this. What have some of you done that have published anthologies? What kind of guidelines did you follow, if any?

I know it's a problem that many people would kill to have. But that doesn't help me decide!

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9 comments:

David Cranmer said...

I would put your strongest ones up front and end on a killer ending. Sprinkle the rest throughout.

Laurie Powers said...

I thought of that earlier and forgot to mention it. I suppose that is what most people choose to do. Thanks for the reminder.

Ron Scheer said...

This was my first impulse, too. The strongest first. As a reader, I'd expect that. If there's one longer than the others, I'd figure that should come last, as a finale.

Evan Lewis said...

Shucks, you three were reading my mind. Now I have nothing to say.

Cap'n Bob said...

Or you could alternate old and new.

Deka Black said...

Why people read my mind? I talk about the idea of David. Also, you can order by characters,if the stories have some kind of relation.

Walker Martin said...

I agree with the above comments. Start off with your strongest stories because you want to grab the reader's attention.

One thing I definitely hope to see are editorial comments by you about the stories, such as what Powers was paid, rejection and acceptance letters, facts about WILD WEST WEEKLY and the other magazines he sent stories, personal things about his work as a writer.

Charles Gramlich said...

I had a hard time with my anthologies on this topic too. I do believe, however, that you need one of the strongest stories up front. Then you need to end with another strong story. Random won't do that, and chronilogical might not either. I tended to try and put two very strong stories up front, then let the middle have a mixture of stronger and less strong stories, and then end with like the second strongest piece I had, at least what I felt was that.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I'd just throw all the titles up in the air and put them in the order they come down.