I’m putting together an illustrated omnibus of all my Flash Fiction Month pieces from 2012 to 2017, and I need your help! This thing will include 186 stories – 31 for each of the first six years I took part in the event – and I’d like at least a significant portion to have an image to go with them. Read on even if you’re not an artist: it matters less than you’d think!
This Google sheet lists the full selection of stories, organised by year (as well as a link to each one to refresh your memory). Produce an illustration for any of them – even if it’s just a doodle on a napkin – and I’ll consider it for inclusion in the book. I don’t promise to add in everything that’s sent, but I don’t rule it out either! Here are some tips to maximise your chances:
- The images will probably be included on their own page, which means it’s preferable for each one to be portrait (taller than it is wide).
- Colour illustrations are absolutely fine (and people reading on phones and tablets will see them in all their glory), but bear in mind the interior of the paperback will be printed in black and white. Most e-readers will show the images in greyscale too.
- Bigger is better. I can always shrink or crop a large image to fit the book, but I can’t do anything to conjure more pixels out of a smaller one!
- Scans are preferable to photographs (if you’re working on paper/canvas/whatever). Each of my #draw365 images is just hastily snapped with my smartphone, and they really suffer because of it. If you don’t have access to a scanner, this blog post offers some handy tips on how to get good photos (even on a phone).
If you’d like to submit an illustration, simply add your name and a hyperlink to the Google sheet. That’s all there is to it, but if you’d like to tell your friends too then that would really help me out a lot!
The goal here is ideally to have one illustration for each of the 186 stories in the book. I’d settle for less, and I might consider more, but that one per story seems like something to aim for. Obviously nobody’s had a chance to ask any questions yet – let alone frequently – but here’s an FAQ anyway.
An FAQ Anyway:
Q: Will I get paid for this?
Q: Will I at least get a copy of the book?
A: If I end up using your artwork, I’ll send you a free ebook! I’ll probably send one even if I don’t.
Q: Why should I send you my work for free?
A: Literally the only reason is “Because you want to.” If you don’t, then don’t. Absolutely do not consider doing this for exposure. That’s a terrible idea in general and in this particular case I can’t even promise it’ll get your work in front of a significant audience.
Q: No, seriously, is there any reason I should get involved with this thing?
A: I think it’ll be fun! If you like any of the stories I’ve produced for Flash Fiction Month, this is a chance to engage with them and create something for future readers to enjoy. If you just like drawing and want to get involved with a big project, that’s great too!
Q: What’ll happen if you get more than one illustration for the same story?
A: I’ll probably just choose my favourite and the other(s) will go unused. However, if it’s a long-ish story then I may be able to fit both in.
Q: How should I add my name and link to the spreadsheet if someone else has already illustrated that story?
A: Just stick them in the next available cells on that row. I don’t anticipate that there’ll be too much competition.
Q: What’s stopping me doing an absolutely rubbish scribble just to get a free book?
A: Nothing. Scribble away! But again, there’s no guarantee I’ll use it and therefore no guarantee of a free book. (This is the internet: I acknowledge the possibility that 5,000 people will send me a hastily scrawled dickbutt, but I’m not emailing out books for the privilege.)
Q: Can I submit more than one illustration?
A: Yes, submit as many as you like!
Q: You’ve emphasised that quality isn’t much of a concern, but I’ve got an idea for something really good! Will that look out of place?
A: I certainly hope not! I hope that people will endeavour to produce work of the highest possible quality, much as I did when producing these six years’ worth of stories. However, I realise that people may find they don’t always quite manage to achieve their own expectations, as I did when producing these six years’ worth of stories.
Q: What exactly am I letting you do with my artwork?
A: By submitting an illustration you are granting me the non-exclusive right to reproduce that image for commercial and non-commercial purposes, which is what I need to make, sell, and promote the omnibus. You maintain all the rights you would have if I weren’t using the image at all (which is actually kind of a grey area when it comes to fan art, but I’m not exactly going to sue people for drawing things I’ve invited them to draw!).
Q: I’ve already drawn fan art of one of these stories! Can I submit that?
A: Yes! I actively encourage it.
Q: I’ve already drawn something that wasn’t specifically based on one of these stories, but might as well have been. Can I submit that?
A: Yes, that’s fine too.
Q: Is there a deadline for this?
A: Not currently, though I’d like to be able to release the omnibus sometime in 2020.
If you’d like to submit an illustration (or a few!) then here’s that link to the spreadsheet again. Even if not, I hope you’ll consider sharing this around. I think it could be a neat project, and I’d like anyone who might be interested to have a chance to get involved.
Joe Wright just sent over this absolutely fantastic Ten Little Astronauts artwork! It’s based on a scene from the novella that a very small handful of people will have heard me read at the International Agatha Christie Festival.
Chances are you’ll have come across Joe Wright’s work before, as he also produced the image I’ve been using in almost all my promotional materials for Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure. This one’s very different in terms of style, though:
I was trying to make something that was reminiscent of old sci-fi pulp novels, which I understand isn’t exactly the aesthetic you’re going for, but I think it’ll help catch the eye.
It may not be a direct representation what’s described in the book (in which the U.N. Owen is not much to look at), but for the overall tone I think this is a great match. The pulp style harks right back to the time of And Then There Were None, and the image itself certainly captures the tension at this point in the story. But to find out what’s really going on here, you’ll have to pledge for the book!
If you’d like to see more of Joe’s work, one handy place to look would be his profile on deviantART. He’s a writer as well as an artist, and regularly takes part in the same Flash Fiction Month event as I do: you’ll see his stories referenced in a number of my own, typically those written as part of a challenge involving another author’s entries for the event.
Flash Fiction Month 2015 starts today! From now until July 31st, I will be writing, editing and posting one (very) short story every single day. I can’t say what the stories will be like. I can’t say when I’ll manage to collect them together into a book. What I can say is that the cover will be blue.The “rainbow party” colour convention for my Flash Fiction Month books started entirely by accident, and like a lot of things I’m involved with mostly got going because somebody on the internet said “Heh, that’s funny.” Based on the first cover featuring an orange object and the second cover featuring a red one, somebody spotted that it would be possible to make the book covers form a rainbow as the series went on.
That was reason enough for me to go ahead and do it, but the design had the added bonus of making the paperbacks identifiable by their spines, which aren’t always thick enough to have the titles printed on them. It also meant that I could reliably turn one free stock image into an eye-catching book cover, which is really handy because I can’t afford to commission a book cover a year.
The thing is, the colour scheme itself seems to suggest something of a natural end point: orange, red, purple, blue, green, yellow. After that (barring a bold move into the non-visible portions of the electromagnetic spectrum) I’m out of colours. The only way I can really go beyond six books is to start again at orange, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. There may be a limited pallette of colours, but there’s a virtually infinite range of coloured objects. Still, that means that each run through the spectrum will form something of a complete set. Continue reading
We always joked that having gone down the rabbit hole, stepped through the mirror, one day we would walk right into Alice.
Well, one day we did.
~Pvt. John Reynolds, Alterworld Expeditionary Force
It’s been a while since I posted anything Alterworld-related, largely because I’ve been working towards writing stories to go in the collection. However, there’s been one development I’m more than happy to share:
I’ve got in touch with Thomas Venner, a local artist whose work is absolutely spot-on for this setting. The scene above–from Never Look Away–should hopefully give some idea what a difference this could make to the stories themselves. Dealing with a world in which there is no light, and where seeing or not seeing can be the difference between life and death, having something visual alongside the text seems especially significant.
I’d also just like to point out that I didn’t ask for this scene specifically. Despite writing the thing, I couldn’t even imagine what this creature looked like, so it seems like a particularly ambitious thing to tackle. Seeing it done, though, it all works so well: there’s just enough visible to suggest something entirely alien, but at the same time not enough to build up an complete idea of what it looks like, or even what it is.
Fun fact: at exactly this point while writing this post, my internet connection cut out for five days. So much for getting this out there straight away!
Thomas has told me quite a bit about the thinking behind this image–particularly the quality of light emitted by the lantern and how it interacts with the creature–but I’m really not qualified to pass any of it on. Visual art isn’t my strong point, which is one reason it’s so nice to be able to work with someone who properly understands it. Still, even just at a glance I feel like it all works. Having the creature’s “face” partially obscured by the character’s shoulder is a particularly nice touch: again, it provides enough detail to suggest something really creepy, but not enough to give away the complete madness-inducing view.