Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Project Mayhem

Project Mayhem is now available from CreateSpace (with expanded availability to be rolled out in coming days from Amazon and Kindle ebook format)!

This is something I'm incredibly proud about.  I've been involved in literary journals in the past, one that I worked on in college and another that aborted before its first issue was released five years ago, but this is the first time that I've been solely responsible for such a project.  "Project Mayhem" is the first in a series of literary anthologies that will carry the umbrella title Mouldwarp Press Presents, made possible by the free publishing services under the Amazon family, which I've now used for a few of my own titles.  I earned a Bachelor's Degree in English a decade ago, but I haven't been able to use it in any professional capacity.  This is a first step, taking control of an entire publishing venture with all my accumulated skills and experience.

Part of what that means is that I'm interested in asserting my ongoing perspective on the art of writing, something that became more of a priority following several experiences last year when I participated in exercises under other emerging creators.  Storytelling is a curious ambition in today's age.  It's become one of the vanguards of the social movement.  Anyone who wants to participate can, with very little regulation.  This can sometimes mean that quality means less than quantity.  While "Project Mayhem" features micro fiction, that's not exactly what I mean.  In the forward to the anthology, I reference writers being needy, and what I mean by that is writers writing simply for the sake of writing, which leads to a lot of stories that don't feature a lot of finely honed craft behind them.  I'm not talking about editing, but rather writers who dive into writing without giving much thought to the form, and readers who are totally forgiving, because it's not the form or the craft that they're supporting but the writer.

The whole point of "Project Mayhem" and its micro fiction format was my theory that with a limited word count (an average of 250 per story), the writer would be forced to examine their approach far more than their peers typically do as they look for length rather than quality in the resulting work.  They look at the words, yes, but also the arc, which are both far easier to control when you're working with a limited word count.  It's the first step to getting writers to concentrate in general far more than can sometimes happen.  When I published Monorama last year, it was the culmination of a period where I wrote dozens of short stories like what's featured in "Project Mayhem," slightly longer but in the same spirit, just getting to the essence rather than concentrating on length.  I think it made me a better writer.  It certainly made me a different writer, one who was more comfortable pursuing his own instincts, his own voice, rather than following expected rules.

Because there are no rules in fiction.  Anyone who tells you there are is only repeating what someone else told them.  Hearsay doesn't equal fact.  And in fiction, especially in fiction, if you aren't following your own muse, then you aren't really writing your own stories.  You're doing a version of someone else's, which in a sense is fine.  If it's the story that's similar to what someone else has done, then you're following a fine tradition (and priming yourself for "Song Remains the Same," the second Mouldwarp Press Presents anthology).  But if it's the writing, then what've you really got?  If you can't find your own voice, then you're sabotaging the story, and without the story, fiction is pretty much worthless.

Fiction can interpret storytelling in so many ways.  Too many writers don't really consider the possibilities.  "Project Mayhem" ended up drawing a lot of unique perspectives, which I was incredibly gratified to compile into the resulting anthology.  You can worry about the state of storytelling like me, or simply enjoy the stories in this collection.  Either way, I hope I've made a worthwhile contribution, and would again like to thank


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