I recently finished a collaborative project called “Women of the Apocalypse,” a novella anthology that was released at the end of October. I worked with three other writers: Billie Milholland and Roxanne Felix from
From the outside, it looked like a simple assignment. We were tasked with writing one novella each for an anthology. A small cast of characters for each of us – one Horseman of the Apocalypse, one
We wrote our novellas without any input from the others, in order to allow each writer's voice and style to come through. It was a little difficult, due to a tight timeline and other aspects of our lives that demanded attention, but we all finished, on time, and barely scarred.
Then came the editing. We edited round robin style, giving each writer the opportunity to work on each novella. It was the right thing to do, because we all have different editing strengths, but this was the spot where egos threatened. As Roxanne said, “Need to lick your wounds? Rebuild your self-esteem? No time for such nonsense. Dive dive dive … into the rewrites. And edit your colleagues’ work, while trying to forget which one recently ripped apart yours.”
The hardest part about the editing process for me was remembering to leave the other person's voice and style intact, while cleaning up a wide ranging variety of issues – from grammar to plot holes big enough to drive a concrete truck through! We quickly figured out that ongoing communication was the key to keeping our stories our own, and keeping relationships with each other whole through this process.
The result? A unique anthology, with individual stories that stand on their own, but that work together to tell an even bigger story. And we all remained friends!
Women of the Apocalypse is now available online at , or on amazon.com. It is also available at Audreys Bookstore and Chapters Southpoint in
Eileen Bell has written (you guessed it) most of her life. She has completed 3 novels (one burned, one under her bed, one out in the world), several novellas, short stories and personal essays, and is happily working on several new projects. When she isn’t writing she’s living a fine life in a round house with her husband, her dog, her daughter’s cat, and two fish.