Anthology prompts

A friend recently pointed out the strange danger of anthology prompts, which I hadn’t given much thought to since it’s only recently that I’ve written anything specifically for a theme anthology.  Mostly I write what I’ve a mind to.  If I see an anthology where it might fit, I’ll submit, but the pieces weren’t intended for an audience that knows what to expect going in.

Of course, the problem with writing pieces specifically for theme anthologies is what you’ll do with it if the editors don’t pick it up.  How much rewriting can the story stand to make it suitable for a general publication?  How much of a niche interest is it?  How much might you, the author, be leaving unsaid because you made the assumption during the writing process that readers would know before they even started that your story would be about villainous pickles or hapless sadsacks with malfunctioning robots or whatever weirdness it is that’s caught your eye in a prompt?

It’s an odd blindspot to generate, especially since again, as authors, you already know where your story is going.  Of course the narrator is a felonious condiment.  It’s obvious to anyone, right?  (Meanwhile the editor of some normal publication is reading your story and going “Well, this was one wild ride, but we’ll pass, thanks.”)

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