Saturday, December 10, 2011

Geeking Out Over Collaborations

My love for both John Green and M. T. Anderson has led me to another dated discovery:

The hot-hot-hot themed YA anthology!

Collections of short stories by rockin' authors are popping up all over, and again I'm late to the party. But that's okay! Late to a party equals awesome! (NOT early. NOT on time. These, to a party, are not so awesome. These are tragic and send a gal home by 8:30 in tears.)

FIRST anthology is Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales published by Candlewick in August 2004. I'm putting this first even though I have no real idea if it has a predecessor. If you know of another first, let me know! This cool collection came out with authors like Neil Gaiman, Celia Rees, Gregory Maguire, and of course, M. T. Anderson. (no. not obsessed.)

SECOND anthology is Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, published by Little, Brown in August 2009. Holly Black collected stories along with her friend and co-ComiCon attendee, Cecil Castellucci. Contributing authors include M. T. and John Green, natch, as well as Sara Zarr, Cassandra Clare, David Levithan, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Scott Westerfeld, Garth Nix, and Libba Bray.

Side-note: I ADORE 2009-LIBBA BRAY. I'm sure 2011-Libba Bray is just-as-if not-more adorable, but 2009-Libba Bray made this video promoting her Printz-winner, Going Bovine. Please watch, even if you never click on links. Three minutes of adorable in a cow costume.

I admit it: this is why I write. Not to write, but to write with friends like Libba who rock cow costumes in New York City. More on this thought in a second.

THIRD anthology is Zombies vs. Unicorns, collected again by Holly Black, this one published by Margaret K. McElderry Books in September 2010. This collection offers six stories pro-unicorns, and six stories pro-zombies. Contributing authors include Carrie Ryan, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, and more fun from Cassandra Clare, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfeld, and Libba Bray.

John Green posted a vlog about this debate in 2007 and described unicorns as the "horned beasts of suck." Also, he questions, "What have unicorns ever accomplished? Providing transport for the Care Bears to and from the Forest of Feelings?" :)

LATEST collection is Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories. This one came out by Candlewick in October 2011. It was put together by Kelly Link, but Holly Black still contributes, along with Corey Doctorow, M. T., Garth Nix, Cassandra Clare, and Libba Bray.

(Afterthought disclamier: This list of four books is, of course, in no way exhaustive and is as extensive as my Googling skills allow.)

So--I want to say how awesome I think this is--writers consistently publishing together.

I mean, I'm not saying that all these writers got together and wrote their stories in one big house, sharing coffee duties and pizza runs. However, clearly the community--as John said in his vlog--had been discussing the topics for months. I don't know, but I imagine that the books came out of those discussions. So community created art, rather than art bringing together a community.

I love that.

But, as an extension of that thought, why not gather together in a big house and write? Why can't we do that? Percy Shelley did, at Leigh Hunt's, with John Keats. Some writers used to write together. Some said--Shelley certainly said--they needed the companionship for inspiration. So I say YAY anthologies! YAY communities of writers collaborating and inspiring one another. I cannot WAIT to join you. I will totally take the first pizza run.

So my friends, who would you want in your big writers' house? Who would be in charge of meals? Who would you borrow toothpaste from? :) Who would you love to toss ideas around with over slices of pepperoni pizza?


  1. While I love John Green, I think I'd want a group of writer-friends at my own level in the writing game aka currently unpublished. Like the recent wave of YA debuts (Elana Johnson, Beth Revis et al), I'd like to see everyone in the group getting agents and editors and celebrating their releases together. And, of course, eating lots of junk food to keep up our strength during the writing!

  2. Yes--Beth Revis! My sister adores her and recently met her in Charleston. So fun! She gave the best NaNoWriMo advice: write bravely. Ignore what "should" or "shouldn't" be written and just tell the story you want. Very cool.

    Your house sounds perfect--everyone getting agents and editors! And CELEBRATING together! That's so much what I love about collaborations--they're the anti-fight, the anti-compete. They're celebrations of folks' contributions. Love it!

  3. I would love to be apart of Beth Revis' crowd. She, Stephanie Perkins and Kiersten White work together often and seem very close! I know Stephanie is in Ashville, NC which is A)Gorgeous and inspirational, and B) Only a 5-6 hour drive. I'd do a writing retreat there in a heartbeat!

  4. Your blog is fantastic! As is this post!!! I also adore anthologies!!! Yay for writers getting together (in the virtual world)!!! I'm PRO PIZZA PARTIES!

  5. Jldy--yes! Kiersten and Stephanie are all about the love. :) I'm not sure if they toured together, but Kiersten and Maureen Johnson actually had a pizza party for their fans this fall. And Libba Bray toured with Meg Cabot and Maggie Stiefvater last summer. Kid Lit folks are master collaborators. I swear, they need to rule the world.

    Jen--so happy to have you visit again!!

  6. Jes, have you seen this blog?

    Jen, (it's so nice to virtually meet you) blogged about it! So fun!

  7. I have always throught it would be amazing to have a group of musical friends living close to each other, popping in to play and sing & write lyrics. Over the Rhinish Civil Warsish Rosie Thomasish magic.

  8. Yes--I was thinking musicians in my house would be a must! Shelley and Hunt had one. :) They'd gather around the piano and host evening musicales. We'd need to do that, too, after a day of writing.