Tuesday, July 7, 2015
According to Randall Bills, Battletech's Line Developer (And chief game creator, and chief bottle washer....) the above image is the cover of the first new Battletech novel in several years. (He posted this to Catalyst's Tumbler Page, so it's already public!) But I still don't know anything about these new novels.....
So, let me talk about something I do know something about --- Battlecorps anthologies. I have written stories for several Battletech anthologies and hope to continue doing so. Battlecorps anthologies come in two different 'flavors' --- Print and Thematic.
Print anthologies consists of stories drawn from the Battlecorps website for a particular year. Volume 1: The Corps consists of the best stories from the first year of the Website's existence, Volume 2: First Strike has stories from the second year of the Website, and so on. In addition, there is a new story written just for the anthology that isn't from the website. None of my stories have made it in any of the print anthologies, but I'm hoping this year I will see one of my stories in the print anthologies.
Thematic anthologies are different. For one, all the stories are commissioned by Jason for the anthology --- We pitch story ideas and Jason chooses which ones he want to see. Second, there is theme for the anthology. For example, the currently running Honor Code anthology's theme is the Draconis Combine --- the stories had to have the Combine as a major part of the story. Other than that. we were free to use any event or set it in any time. Most of the time, an anthology is tied to a sourcebook coming out, sometimes for another reason.
But the theme is what ties all the stories together. It can be an event (Operation Rat, Klondike) a group (Honor Code) or a period of time (Like this new anthology). We generally have free reign to write whatever we want, as long as we use the theme as the central part of the story.
Now, just because I send in a completed story, on time doesn't mean it'll be accepted for the anthology. Jason may not include it in the anthology, but still buy it anyway for the website. It's up to me to give him what he wants and hope he's satisfied with it.
As I said above, I have written stories for several anthologies. Salvage was written for the Operation Rat anthology. Family Ties was written for the Klondike anthology, The Blood of Man was a part of the Jihad Hot Spots: Terra anthology, and My Father's Sword was written for the Onslaught anthology. Another one was written for an anthology that never got off the ground, but was published.
What's the difference between writing an anthology and writing a normal story? The biggest difference is time. A regular submission you can write some, leave for a few days, come back, work on it a little more, lit it sit for a week, and so on. In the anthology submission, there is are deadlines: the first is for pitches, the second for the actual story. This Anthology has about a four-week window from announcement to sending in the finished story. So, it's a tight window to create, plot and write a short story.
Second difference is the story length. Usually, a word count is given (In the case of this new anthology, 4,000-7,000 words). Now, Jason's not going to get angry if the story's a little longer than that, but it's usually best to try and keep the word count as close to the solicitation as possible. For the Jihad Hot Spots: Terra anthology, we had a 12,000 word limit, which is why The Blood of Man is my longest story.
As it stands right now, I've completed the first draft of the story. Now, I'm letting it sit for a couple of days, then I plan to go back and do some cleaning up and editing. It's a little longer than Jason wants, so I need to see if there's anywhere I can trim it without losing any of the story.
I need to get back to writing!