Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Split and the Lessons Learned

I'll never forget the day that Split arrived and I was able to hold our newly published book in my hands. Up until then, I knew we had all written and contributed stories and poems for an anthology of dichotomies. We had worked on it for months. We had read and critiqued each other's work, watching the stories become more cohesive with each re-write. We had shared back-story and helped one another capture it in an appropriate format. We had labored over each of our stories. Yet it was when I held Split in my hand, that it all felt real.

For those of you new to this blog, Split is a book of 27 short stories and poems, each reflecting a whole or one-half of a dichotomy, or two mutually exclusive or contradictory ideas. The contributing authors belong to my writer's group, Humble Fiction Café (HFC), a diverse mix of extremely talented writers at various stages in their writing careers.

I don't remember the month, but in 2007 we decided to challenge ourselves to write a book and selected the theme of dichotomies. There is war/peace, hot/cold, guilt/innocence, create/destroy, and many more dichotomies reflected in our stories. Some of us worked hard to contribute just one story to the book, while other (more prolific) writers provided more. We all hope you read the book and let us know your favorite(s).

There were many lessons learned throughout the process, which is exactly why we undertook this project (HFC does not receive any profit from the sale of this book). I learned, for one, that as many times as you re-write and edit a story, there is more that can be done. Until you put it away and declare it "finished," it isn't done!

I discovered that there is a lot of work that goes into editing and cover design. Our group was fortunate enough to have the talent of Kelli Meyer and Victor DiGiovanni respectively for these tasks, and for that, we are all truly grateful.

But wait, there is more. A book introduction had to be written, a back cover synopsis, bio's for each author, and even descriptions to follow each story embodying the dichotomy. Then the book had to be organized. Whose story would appear first, second, last? And what organization would make the most sense. After all, some of the stories written were by-products of another author's story, borrowing characters or locations or some other common thread. Everyone within HFC contributed magnificently to these tasks.

Finally, while we are the Humble Fiction Café, I know I for one experienced pride in the completed product. For days, Split was all I could think about or talk about, and the smile would not wipe off my face. It's not about how many copies are sold or whether or not a book makes a best-seller list (although wouldn't that be grand?). It's all about the enormity of the project, the completeness, the giving forth of all your efforts that provides the satisfaction.

Participating in the creation of Split was hugely rewarding. What an outstanding group of individuals to have pulled this off and with a remarkably good book to boot. Kudos to the HFC!


Warren Whitlock said...

Congratulations on "Split"

Hope it becomes a best seller

Sheryl Tuttle said...

Thanks for your kind comments!