In the past few days I’ve read five or six stories for the justice-themed story bundle I’m working on, and WOW have they been fantastic.
Here’s what I gave the authors as a guideline:
The theme is justice.
Stories should show why being just matters, and/or what the consequences are for individuals, groups, towns, countries, or humanity if justice is not expected, encouraged, or enforced legally.
Your story can be positive or negative, upbeat or dark – anything is fine as long as your story is meaningful. Send a message. Teach a lesson. Show consequences, bravery, courage.
The reader should finish each story feeling that they read something that matters.
The stories I’ve read so far have covered a much, much broader range than I anticipated, and some of them have totally blown me away. I read one yesterday where I became so engrossed in the story that when I finished it I had to remind myself that I was supposed to be making sure it fit the bundle’s theme. (Answer: yes!)
I’m actually a little nervous about my own story because it deals with topics that are outside of my demographic. Sure, as a woman I’ve dealt with plenty of issues over the years – but I’ve also been a white woman in the U.S., so my experience has been almost exclusively with sexism. But while this story is a little challenging, every time I write something out of my comfort zone I learn new things – so I’m looking forward to the learning!
My justice story is set in the American West in the mid-to-late 1800s, so there’s also the challenge of writing in a different time period. It’s a time period I love writing in, but these stories tend to go a little slower than others because I do research for every western I’ve written to make sure I get the facts and descriptions as accurate as I can. And the research is sometimes so fun I have to remind myself to stop and get back to writing. 🙂