The idea for a collection of bizarro writing prompts really took hold of me in October of 2018, while I was on a family vacation. We’ve all been there, scrawling out the first draft of a proposal on the cold bathroom tile of a mid-rate hotel because it’s 2:00 in the morning and we don’t want to wake the sleeping spouse and child. And from those meager beginnings, a year and a half later here we are, getting ready for release. That’s not a bad pace in the world of small presses.
What makes Dog Doors one-of-a-kind is its TOC. At first I was relieved when almost every one I invited to submit agreed to. Then with the open call, the radness just kept coming both in the form of authors with whom I was familiar and a few delightful surprises. In the end, my original plan for 12 contributors expanded to 15, each one bringing something unique and valuable to the collection.
Of course, it isn’t the TOC but the actual content that really makes is special. So many of the ideas are balls out weird. What? Really? Did they just do that? Some are in-your-face crazy and some are sleepers. Each has the potential to spark dozens of different ideas in thousands of people. With 99 prompts, that makes the idea potential in the quadrillion bobillions. (Pushes glasses up nose.)
This was my first experience acting as editor of a collection, and there were a few things that surprised me about the process.
- As I’ve intimated, the quality of the submissions.
- The varying levels of complexity among the entries.
- How professional and enthusiastic everyone was. (I might be a cliché—what? A writer with social anxiety?—but this project meant putting myself out there in a whole new way. I was relieved to find my fears were unfounded.)
- The voice thing.
And by that I mean, when I first had this idea I figured bizarro writers especially would come up with prompts really unique to them. Bizarro encourages individualization like perhaps no other genre. And it was as I hoped, each entry is a tiny, well honed example of the voice of the author who submitted it. If you’re familiar with their work, you could cut the entries into strips, pull them anonymously from a bowl, and be able to say, “This is David Barbee” or “This is Katy Quinn.” The prompt may only be 15 words, but no one else would have come up with that idea or put those words in that order.
To give some thanks, as you can tell I am enormously grateful to the contributors, of whom Bradley Sands and Sam Richard have been especially supportive (or unknowingly said the right thing at the right time), and also to Ira Rat of Filthy Loot, who didn’t hesitate whatsoever when I approached him with the idea, who has been nothing but patient and helpful, and with whom I wouldn’t hesitate to work again.
I created Dog Doors because I wanted a collection of bizarro writing prompts on my shelf—something that would be a crazy, over-the-top, outlandish good time; that would never fail to inspire, to set pen flying across paper—and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.
I hope you like it too.
Click here to see the full list of contributors as well as some example prompts, and to learn how to order.
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