How to write an Anthology

In my previous experiment, I tried shortening the content of my personal narrative origin piece to fit within 200 words but retain its emotional impact. For my next experiment, I would like to take this idea further and really distill the emotion and story of my personal narrative in the form of a Rupi Kaur inspired anthology.

Rupi Kaur is one of my all time favorite poets, and my favorite books of hers are Milk and Honey, and The Sun and Her Flowers. In both books, she combines poetry, prose, and simple drawings to deliver powerful messages about her life to the reader. I think that by converting my origin piece into an anthology similar to Kaur’s, I could have a very cohesive project that conveys both the story and emotional aspects I want, while also following my desire to make my origin piece more short and concise. This shortness and conciseness is what I think will draw more interest from the readers.

In a Writer’s Digest entitled “Hearing Voices: 6 Steps I Used for Creating an Anthology,” the following steps are listed for writing a powerful anthology:

  1. Find a unique theme
  2. Set Goals for Your Anthology
  3. Create Guidelines for Contributors
  4. Search For A Publisher
  5. Call For Submissions
  6. Secure Release Forms

Okay, so this is a pretty easy list to accomplish considering numbers 3-6 don’t really apply to what I’d be trying to accomplish. In my last experiment, I opened up my project to include the stories of friends and family. After considering doing the same for this Anthology, I decided I would like to keep this experiment exclusively my own. I would do this in order to, as step number 1 advises, “find a unique theme,” which in this case would be my own story.

As for number 2, “Set Goals for Your Anthology,” my goal would be to express positivity in the face of one of my most tragic memories. Rupi Kaur divides her writing into 4 parts: the loving, the breaking, the hurting, and the healing. I would try to do something along these lines to draw my theme together (though the actual divisions of the story are TBD).

In another article by The Writer Mag, called “How to create a salable anthology proposal,” it is suggested that the idea should be made “razor-sharp” and “unique.” Both of these goals can be accomplished in my anthology’s case by tailoring the compilation to my personal story and the things I learned from it.

I think the biggest challenge of writing this anthology will be staying on a single topic and making it a theme that a wide audience can relate to, as Rupi Kaur does in her anthologies. In Writer’s Weekly, on writing an anthology it is important to know who your target audience is. In my case, my target audience is all who have lived through what they would consider a tragic experience. I need to be able to take a personal story and open it up to a larger world view. Though this aspect seems intimidating, I think with more research (and re-reading Rupi’s books a few more times) it could be accomplishable.

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