Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology

Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology

Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!
Voyagers: The Third Ghost
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
 
Journey into the past…
 
Will the third ghost be found before fires take more lives? Can everyone be warned before Pompeii is buried again? What happens if a blizzard traps a family in East Germany? Will the Firebird help Soviet sisters outwit evil during WWII? And sneaking off to see the first aeroplane – what could go wrong?
 
Ten authors explore the past, sending their young protagonists on harrowing adventures. Featuring the talents of Yvonne Ventresca, Katharina Gerlach, Roland Clarke, Sherry Ellis, Rebecca M. Douglass, Bish Denham, Charles Kowalski, Louise MacBeath Barbour, Beth Anderson Schuck, and L.T. Ward.
 
Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a voyage of wonder into history. Get ready for an exciting ride!
 
Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter.

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Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!

Voyager The Third Ghost Anthology the author answers the question: Why Do I Write Short Stories? Each of the authors provides a logline for their story in the anthology.
Voyagers The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!

Writing Short Stories
By
Yvonne Ventresca

Short stories are fun to write because you can hold the entire plot in your head at one time (unlike a longer novel). You can proofread in a single sitting. And short stories are a great way to stretch your creative writing muscles. The shorter form allows you to experiment with a new character, a new setting, a new premise without a long-term commitment.

If you are unfamiliar with this kind of writing, I recommend reading lots of short stories as you try writing them, because they do provide a different kind of satisfaction to the reader. Author Lorrie Moore said, “A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage.” Study several stories that resonate with you, then have a short story love affair of your own.

Quote: “A short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.” ~Lorrie Moore

Story: The Third Ghost

Logline: Among the darkened, arson-damaged streets of Hoboken, Lewis stops to help two ghosts until he realizes his own family is in grave danger.

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Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology
Voyagers The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!
Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!
Voyagers The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!

Why I Write Short Stories
By
Sherry Ellis

My usual genres of writing are picture books and middle-grade novels, but occasionally I take the time to write a short story. Why?

Short stories offer the opportunity to practice the craft of writing. They don’t take months or years to write, and the sense of accomplishment once you finish is satisfying.

Short stories also provide a chance to explore genres you might not otherwise write. It’s always interesting to step outside the box once in a while. I had an experience of writing a short horror story not too long ago – not my usual kid-friendly material, but it was fun and challenging to do it.

Another good reason to write short stories is that there are competitions for them. That’s why I wrote my last one, The Ghosts of Pompeii.

Here are some tips if you would like to try writing your own short story:

  • Figure out the basic plot. Short stories are usually 3,500 words or less, so you’ll need to make every sentence count, leaving out unnecessary details and complicated subplots.
  • Figure out what can work against your main character’s goal and add that as the obstacle to overcome.
  • Know your main character well. This is the person who drives the plot and gives the story meaning. Make this character as realistic as possible with strengths and flaws so that readers can feel an emotional connection.
  • Choose your title carefully. Make it compelling so readers want to find out what the story is about.

Story: The Ghosts of Pompeii

Logline: Can everyone be warned before Pompeii is buried again?

Bio: Award-winning author Sherry Ellis is a professional musician who plays and teaches violin, viola, and piano. When she’s not writing or engaged in musical activities, she can be found taking care of household chores, hiking, or exploring the world. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!
Voyagers The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!

HOW I DON’T WRITE SHORT STORIES
By Bish Denham

I have no idea about other writers/authors, but I don’t know “how” to write a short story. What I mean by that is that I don’t know the mechanics or the steps for writing one. All I know is that there should be a beginning, middle, and end. I like writing for elementary and middle grade kids because I can keep the stories short, a 1000 words or less, which is what most children’s magazines prefer. It was a challenge for me to make “The Blind Ship” long enough to submit for the anthology.

For me, short stories have always “just happened,” whereas with novels I plot, plan, write character sketches, research and do all kinds of stuff. But short stories are different. Most times a short story starts with an opening sentence that pops into my head and won’t go away. Other times it’s a vague idea. Sometimes (gasp) a short story is a novel in disguise!

I have a long list of titles I’ve made up—an idea for inspiration I got from my favorite book on writing by Ray Bradbury called Zen in the Art of Writing. Sometimes I will peruse the list and a title will catch my fancy. I never know where that fancy will take me. Sometimes it’ll go nowhere, other times something blooms naturally on the page that’s a delight to see happen.

Ray Bradbury, who wrote over 600 short stories (I had to research that) said, “You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” I guess that’s how I do it.

I offer up this little game you can play to help with inspiration, courtesy of Ray. Pick a word, any word. Use the first word that pops into your head or open the dictionary at random, close your eyes, and let your finger land on one. Let’s take the word “pink,” which seems to want attention. Now we make up titles. Let the words flow. Don’t think too hard or too long. They can be anything from serious to whimsical nonsense.

The Pink Door
Pink is the Color of Money
How Pink is Your Cat?
The Pink Planet
Blink if You’re Pink
Pink is for Girls
The Pink House on Turquoise Avenue
It’s your turn. And remember to have fun.

Story: The Blind Ship

Logline: The journal of a twelve-year-old boy reveals the horrors of a slave ship, and when its cargo and crew go blind from a highly contagious disease, the situation only gets worse.

Bio: Bish Denham is from the U.S. Virgin Islands, where her family has lived for over a hundred years. The author of two middle grade novels, A LIZARD’S TAIL and THE BOWL AND THE STONE, as well as a collection of retold Jamaican Anansi stories called, ANANSI AND COMPANY. She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book.”

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Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!
Voyagers The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!

Writing Short Stories 
By
Louise McBeath Barbour

For me entering the 2019 Insecure Writers Support Group anthology contest was a challenge, an opportunity to write in a genre I had never attempted before.  Something small, something manageable.  Surely I could pound out a Middle Grade Historical – Adventure/Fantasy story, a mere 5,000 words, and submit it by the deadline four months in the future.  

I almost didn’t make the deadline.  

Douglas Adams said in his posthumous book The Salmon of Doubt, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”  Usually the fear of that whooshing sound pushes me to tackle and finish an intimidating writing project that I am avoiding.  I knew in my heart that if I didn’t enter this contest I would be deeply disappointed in myself, but that whooshing sound bearing down on me wasn’t enough to overcome my insecurities.  This time it took a jolting bolt from the black, a deafening roll of overhead thunder to literally knock me off my derrière and motivate me to start writing near the end of August.  Message from the Universe received.

The process was painful and maddeningly slow, a multi-day marathon of laying down word after word, with frequent, frustrating interruptions to check and verify historical facts.  My husband supported me by plopping plates of food by my computer and by not suggesting that I needed to sleep or to shower.  By the time I finished just a couple of hours before the deadline, I barely knew what I had written.  “Just push the Send Button and beat the deadline.  At least you met the challenge,” I told myself.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that my story was selected for the anthology!  Little did I know I had a lot of work ahead of me.  

Under the  guidance of experienced editor, Diane L. Wolfe, I worked on my story.  My worst mistake as a novice short story writer was head-hopping, a term I had never heard of before.  Head-hopping is a common pet peeve of editors, and I had done it.  I had written my short story with a third-person omniscient point of view, jumping back and forth between my two young protagonists Sara and Kelsey.  In a short story this can be confusing for the reader.  I had to rework my story and write it from a third-person limited point of view.  It took a few go-rounds to eliminate all the point of view errors, but I finally accomplished it to Diane’s satisfaction.  In the process, I learned an important lesson I’ll never forget.    

Why write a short story?  

Because sometimes you confront an intimidating challenge and see an unexpected result: Your short story in print.  It’s a deeply fulfilling feeling!”  

Story: Dare Double Dare

Logline: “Few adventurous kids can resist the challenge of a dare and a counter double dare, and when Sara and Kelsey step through a forbidden door they land in an adventure they could never have imagined.”

Bio: Louise MacBeath Barbour was born in Nova Scotia and raised throughout eastern Canada, Louise is a writer and blogger who lives with her supportive husband in Colorado.  She writes fiction and nonfiction, often finding inspiration for her stories in her Canadian past.

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Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!
Voyagers The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!

Writing Short Stories
By

L. T. Ward

I hated short stories. When I became a writer, I wrote two novels in a row (still not published, but working on that) and researched how I could turn my novels into books. The consensus was: short stories.

Why? The quick answer was that they would earn me query letter credits. Most agents want to see that you’ve published works somewhere and the fastest means is to flaunt a short story published by another publisher. So, I tried my hand at writing short stories. I read the blogs, read several already published short stories, and got to work. My first short was for Dancing Lemur’s anthology. Despite all of my prep work, I started with a sour attitude, but by the time I’d finished the short, I fell in love.

And then, the short was accepted and I’d had my first win as a writer. An incredible win.

Since that experience, I’ve written several more short stories. I’ve written literary fiction, horror, and speculative fiction. As much as I love reading and writing novels, short stories are those quick, to-the-point tales that are delicious to read. I’ve read several more anthologies, short story collections, and literary magazines. With a busy lifestyle, they fit in every day.

Writing them has also strengthened my own skills. I have to engage with the reader immediately. There’s no time to dilly dally if I want them hooked. Learning to write the action and connect my reader to the characters means I have to work harder to keep the reader locked in on what I have to say. I’ve gone back and worked through revisions of my novels (one is still in edit and one is actively being queried), I noticed that I could manage the chapters better. What I can see now that I couldn’t see before writing short stories is that every chapter is in itself a short story. Given, novel chapters must work together to form the entire book, but working them to stand alone makes them stronger.

As I’ve started on my third novel–more than anything–it’s the practice of writing a short story that has improved my storytelling capabilities. For that, I’ll never stop writing short stories.

Oh, and that query letter I was so concerned about? I’ve queried more for my short stories than I have for my novel. Getting my novels and short stories published have become equally valuable to me as I continue on my writerly journey.

Story: Return to Cahokia

Logline:

Bio: LT Ward hails from the Land of Corn, otherwise known as Central Illinois, where weather inspires her literary works. When not writing speculative fiction shorts and novels, she spends her days raising a brood of plague monsters (a.k.a. her children) as well as satisfying her never-ending thirst for knowledge through reading, meeting people, and first-hand life experiences.

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Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!
Voyagers The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!

Writing Short Stories
By

Roland Clarke

(English Spelling)

Although I’ve written dozens of short stories, my successes are in single digits. I blame lack of craft and lack of submissions.

Lesson 1. Submit your stories – ensuring they meet the required guidelines.

I wrote many of those lost words in my teens – fantasy and Sci-Fi mainly. Yes, I was rejected early on and responded in the wrong way – by not submitting for five decades. I buried myself in ‘gainful employment’ and creating words was a rare occurrence. In the few years before I retired, my writing was focused on writing about equestrian sport. Regular columns and acceptance, yes. But no short stories.

Lesson 2. Never give up. Keep writing.

My career as an equestrian journalist provided the grist for my debut published novel, ‘Spiral of Hooves’. Shorts appeared a mere distraction from the ‘serious business’ of writing novels – or so I blindly believed.
But the muse knew otherwise, and shorts trickled free from my dreams. Some experimental and some with potential, but all teaching me more about our craft. I may be a mystery writer foremost, but a glance at my filed fiction proves I’ve often strayed back where I started – fantasy and SF. Plus, there’s some alternative history and children’s tales in my Vault. I’ve also linked some of those stories to form two distinct compilations. One set has evolved into my current WIP novel, ‘Fevered Fuel’.

Lesson 3. Try different genres.

Over the years, the IWSG Anthology Competition has been an opportunity to tackle different genres: from fantasy to romance. Ironically, I didn’t enter the year the genre was ‘mystery’ – inspiration failed me. Or I feared rejection, having failed too many times.
Hence, the 2019 genre, Middle Grade Historical – Adventure/Fantasy, appeared well outside my scribbling range. Middle Grade was not my style. But I was encouraged to enter, and the unexpected result was my short ‘Feathered Fire’. Amazingly, the piece was selected to appear alongside an array of inspiring writings in VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost.

So, I’m not giving up. Time to start devising an engrossing entry for the 2020 IWSG Anthology Competition.
It’s never too late to recognise the wisdom behind  this quote from one of my favourite writers as a teenager:

“If you write a hundred short stories and they’re all bad, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. You fail only if you stop writing.”
Ray Bradbury

Story: Feathered Fire

Logline: Will the Firebird help Soviet sisters outwit evil during WWII?

BIO: After diverse careers, Roland Clarke was an equestrian journalist and green activist when chronic illness hastened retirement. But he hasn’t stopped exploring rabbit holes and writing – mainly mystery novels and varied shorts. Roland and his wife – both avid gamers – now live in Idaho (USA) with their four fur-babies, although their hearts are in North Wales (UK).

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Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!
Voyagers The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!

Writing Short Stories
By

Beth Anderson Schuck

My writing journey began with the short story format, as my first published work was “Draft Day” in 2019, a tale spun from my childhood. The format forces you to immediately focus on details and character development. You must pull the reader in and entrance them with the story. For me, it’s a way to determine whether the characters are engaging enough to write a full manuscript or does the short story complete the story.

I ‘live’ with any of my characters for a while before writing a word. The characters are inevitably a combination of traits from people I know well. Often, I begin with an experience or feeling that stuck with me for one reason or another. Then, I build an outline of character traits and potential settings. Once I have the protagonist profile, I see what other characters might be a appropriate foil or perhaps a supportive character that makes the story flow the best. Once I have the main characters and setting, I usually can quickly complete the initial draft of the story.

I also enjoy the short story format, as the edit mode is less onerous. For me, editing is the most time consuming part of the writing process. With the short format, this phase passes more quickly. I love completing writing projects and short stories allow me to share something that I have inside in an easy-to-digest form. I find I have more ideas for short stories than for full manuscripts. I keep a separate notebook just for my short story concepts.

Story & Logline: “The Orchard” is the tale of two outcasts trying to survive in a pioneer day Utah community.

Bio: Beth Anderson Schuck is a retired librarian who believes reading can take you anywhere. She writes historical fiction featuring willful female characters. Being in nature whether hiking, bird watching or gardening makes her whole.

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Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!

Writing Short Stories
By
Charles Kowalski

“The story need not be long,” Henry David Thoreau once said, “but it will take a long while to make it short.”

This is one of many famous variations on the truism that writing a short story is harder than writing a long one. To create characters, make the reader care about them, catapult them into the world of adventure, build to a climax where they have to draw on inner reserves of courage and resourcefulness they didn’t know they had – and, in the case of speculative fiction, also to give a clear picture of the alternate world where all this happens – is a tall order even in the space of fifty thousand words. To do the same in five thousand is a labor of Hercules.

I felt this keenly while writing “Simon Grey and the Yamamba.” I had an advantage in that the characters, and the magical Japan that forms the stage for their adventures, had already been established in SIMON GREY AND THE MARCH OF A HUNDRED GHOSTS, so I only needed a few brushstrokes that would give readers a general idea of the characters, setting, and backstory, while hopefully piquing their curiosity to read the full adventure. At the same time, this added the extra challenge of crafting an episode that would fit into the storyline of the novel without changing its course.

I dipped back into the Yokai lore I had drawn on for the novel, and one creature jumped out at me: the Yamamba or Yamauba, a witch or ogress who lives in the mountains and could be the basis for a “Hansel and Gretel”-type story. There are various interpretations of this character: Sometimes she’s portrayed as a monster who preys on unsuspecting travelers, sometimes as a vengeful spirit who was mistreated in her mortal life, and occasionally even as a helper of humans or bringer of good luck. (One legend about the folk hero Kintaro, a fantastically strong boy who could talk to animals, says that he was nursed by a Yamamba.) Her story would practically fill a book itself, but I had to do my best to do her justice in the space of a short story. I hope I succeeded, and I hope the readers of this anthology enjoy “Simon Grey and the Yamamba”!

Story: Simon Grey and the Yamamba.

Logline:

Bio: Charles Kowalski has published the full story of Simon, Oyuki and their adventures through haunted Japan in Simon Grey and the March of a Hundred Ghosts.  In addition to to middle-grade fantasy, Charles’ thrillers for adults, Mind Virus and The Devil’s Son, have won prizes and nominations including the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Award, the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award, and the Adventure Writers Grandmaster Award.

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Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!

Why I Write Short Fiction
By
Rebecca Douglas

For a long time, I didn’t think I could write short stories. It felt harder to write short than long, and because I don’t always like to read short stories, I thought I shouldn’t even try.

Some of that was true: I shouldn’t try to write short stories I don’t like, and it is hard to write well in the short form (I don’t know if it’s harder than novels; it’s different). It wasn’t until I discovered flash fiction that I learned that I could write short stories, and that it was good for me.

Why flash fiction? I think the nature of the flash challenges was what freed me. It’s in the name: flash fiction. Flash fiction bits aren’t meant to be literary masterpieces, but lightly polished works to lift someone’s spirits for a few minutes. So I started writing to weekly challenge prompts, and found, to my surprise, that I liked it. Even more surprising, I found that I could do it.

Later, after I’d been writing weekly flash fiction for a couple of years, I figured out a couple of other things. Flash fiction is both good and bad for me. Good, because I learned to write a story that leaves something to the imagination. In 1000 words, you can’t tell it all. You have to let the reader fill in some gaps. Sometimes, you have to let them have a lot of gaps. Writing super-short helped me to see what was important in a story and what was just my desire to make everything clear—too clear.

I also saw that the push to create a story every week, to prompts that sometimes didn’t fit me very well, was sometimes making for bad or at least lazy writing. Hinting at things without any clear idea what they might be. Counting on a clever twist rather than a good story.

Enter the more traditional short story form (5,000 to 10,000 words). That proved to be harder than flash fiction, but I think it does more for me as a writer. A 6000-word story requires some thought as to story arc, character development, and so forth. It also requires maintaining my focus on what is and isn’t important to the story. In 6000 words there’s room for development, but no room for flab. You need to know where the story is going and how it gets there (even if you figure it out after the first draft is done!). And you need to pick every word with care.

For me, then, leaving aside all the good-career-move reasons to write and sell short fiction, the big lesson remains: writing short fiction forces me to improve my understanding of the craft of writing. It forces me to plan and execute a story with care, and often to a deadline.

 In other words, writing short stories makes me a better writer.

Story: A World of Trouble

Logline:

Bio: Rebecca Douglas is the author of the delightful Ninja Librarian books, as well as a picture book for outdoor families, a mystery series for the parents, and her middle-grade fantasy, Halitor the Hero.  After more than seventeen years working at the library, she has retired still without learning all the secrets of the Ninja Librarian.

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Voyager The Third Ghost An IWSG Anthology: Why Write Short Stories!

Why do I write short stories?
By
Katharina Gerlach


I love short stories because they force me to concentrate on a most important event in a character’s life. They require me to contain the world to a pinprick in the time-space-continuum while still creating believable characters that feel real to the reader. Short stories are an excellent training ground for efficient writing which helps a lot when writing novels.

Story: Winter Days

Logline: On a Christmas visit in 1979, twelve year old Katie, whose father fled the GDR 20 years earlier, fears her family’s arrest when a blizzard hits.

Bio: Katharina Gerlach currently writes stories of varying length in fantastical and historical genres. She runs the Indie Authors’ Advent Calendar each year, a free for all story feast.

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VOYAGER THE THIRD GHOST

Voyagers: The Third Ghost
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Ten authors explore the past, sending their young protagonists on harrowing adventures. Featuring the talents of Yvonne Ventresca, Katharina Gerlach, Roland Clarke, Sherry Ellis, Rebecca M. Douglass, Bish Denham, Charles Kowalski, Louise MacBeath Barbour, Beth Anderson Schuck, and L.T. Ward.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a voyage of wonder into history. Get ready for an exciting ride!

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter.

Available May 5, 2020

Juvenile Fiction: Historical / Action & Adventure / Fantasy & Magic

Print ISBN 9781939844729 $13.95 / eBook ISBN 9781939844736 $4.99

Links:

Amazon – Print https://www.amazon.com/dp/193984472X/ Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Voyagers-Third-Ghost-Yvonne-Ventresca-ebook/dp/B083C4WPR5/

Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/voyagers-yvonne-ventresca/1135912991?ean=2940163430857

ITunes – https://books.apple.com/ca/book/voyagers-the-third-ghost/id1493413956

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/voyagers-the-third-ghost Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50364415-voyagers

Find out about 2020 Contest Here.

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