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Getting Short With Others

May 14, 2012

By SJ Byrne

Anthologies are great for so many reasons. People who prefer a shorter reading experience will gobble them up, helping to create a solid foundation for both new and experienced authors while generating publicity for all involved!

Publicity is what every business is ultimately seeking. I say the word and it gives me shivers; like the hyenas in The Lion King! Publicity is also an author’s bread and butter. One thing I have learned in the last couple of months is that when writers band together, wonderful things come about. An anthology is a reflection of this connectedness and a show of support between authors. When a reader sees a piece by their favorite scribe, combined with the works of others, and purchases the book – that is publicity at its best!

Sadly, writing a short story holds NO appeal for me. I have a difficult time putting all I have to say in less than five thousand words. Somehow, my thirteen year old daughter accomplished it and she’s as wordy as I am! The opportunity to be involved in an IBC Anthology was enough of an enticement to push us both out of our comfort zones to tackle this momentous adventure.

My daughter Alex is a very talented young woman. The day she decided to write fan fiction was a moment that changed both of our lives. Finally, she began to understand the drive behind my craft and exactly why I spend so much time at the blasted computer; not only writing, but basking in the glory of seeing my readership grow!

When the invitation to submit an entry for IBC’s latest anthology popped up in my inbox, I knew I wanted to be involved but had nothing remotely ready for publication. I proposed the idea to Alex, who embraced it with enthusiasm, and we put in our bid for a spot. Alex had a fabulous idea brewing and I turned the entire creation process over to her. It was amazing, watching her come home every night and get on her netbook to begin writing – once homework and guitar practice were done! After providing a small sample of her writing, we learned it had been accepted and when the final submission deadline was. Crunch time!

The first thing Alex learned about writing this short story was how to cope creatively with a deadline. She struggled and worried over whether or not it would be done on time. She wrote for hours on end, sitting beside me in our matching recliners like an old married couple! I watched this teenager pop out over two-thousand words in a four to six hour time period – every night! In less than four days I had over nine-thousand words of a story to edit and tweak – this was my job in the process. If a thirteen year old can settle down and commit to writing that much in four days, I don’t ever want to hear myself say ‘I can’t do it.’

The second thing she learned about writing on a tight deadline – focus! I don’t write using an outline and she tried doing that with this piece but it didn’t work. We had lots of great prose, but no concrete story. In order to get the work finished, we had to do what I haven’t done since college creative writing – compile an outline! Eeek! It took some re-focusing of ideas but a great story line had been created and she was off and writing once again. This time, what she presented me was solid and flowing; a real short story.

When the anthology becomes a published work, Alex will enjoy that one experience sought by most writers, to see her name on a finished product being snapped up by readers across the globe. What a rush, especially for a teenager.

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SJ and Alex Byrne are a mother daughter team living in the mountains of Western North Carolina. SJ holds an accounting degree and loves rebuilding engines with her father, but writing has always been her true passion. Born into a large family, she learned quickly what it took to grab an audience’s attention and hold it. Through laughter, emotional rollercoasters, dramatic scenery, and honest situations she has created stories to capture the hearts of her readers.

A student of the arts, Alex Byrne is a real Renaissance young-woman: she draws manga, plays guitar and cello, is active in the school and local theater, and has a large following on the fan fiction site.

SJ Byrne’s first book My Butterfly was published in August of 2011 and is a bestseller on the Amazon Kindle British Drama list. Pulling her daughter into the world of publication, SJ and Alex have created a new series and the first book is to be released in 2012. Find them on Twitter, Facebook or her blog.

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Once A Druid book blurb:

Amnesia, dark dreams of a former existence, a soul’s path split in different directions; exactly what is Kirra Munro hiding from?

If you’re a fan of Karen Marie Moning, then you will love Once a Druid.

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