The 512 collection DeeAnn and I are publishing next month will include one hundred and seventeen stories out of the two hundred and fifty-six from my weekly blog. Why aren't we including all the stories? The main reasons are:
- Some have been or will be published elsewhere.
- Some are in the process of becoming longer finished works (e.g., novels).
- Some of them just weren't very good.
In hindsight, we should have synced up on our rating methods beforehand, because I only used integers (0==no, 1==maybe, 2==yes) and DeeAnn used rational numbers between 0 and 2, inclusive. But we averaged the scores anyway, and discussed any wildly divergent scores or right-in-the-middle ratings.
After we agreed on the set of stories to include, we had to decide on an order in which to present them. To that end, DeeAnn created a new spreadsheet where she summarized each 512 in a logline, and also noted the general theme of each piece and whether it was a strong candidate for an opener or a closer.
Out of all that data, she distilled the themes down to six major sections. Then I took a stab at sorting the sections and stories. (Note my clever use of an old BASIC line numbering trick--i.e., using increasing but non-consecutive numbers to allow later additions--which would have much more useful if I had started doing it before I was halfway through the spreadsheet.)
At that point, we knew exactly what content would be in the book, even if we weren't yet sure about the final order. I spent a few days copying the text of all 117 stories into a Scrivener project, using that latest spreadsheet as a guide, and now we can make whatever tweaks we need to while looking at the actual, mostly formatted text.
So now we have a book, more or less. Yay! What are we going to call it? I'll talk about that next week.