Saturday, May 1, 2010

You tell me: How are you normal?

I’ve been mulling over this idea for a new project for a while and after running it by a couple of people, I'm going to move forward with it. You know the Chicken Soup for the Soul series? I have an essay in one of their volumes, and maybe you do, too. Having that publishing credential is a feather in your cap--especially if you’re looking to build your author’s platform--but let’s be honest, the stories are rather, um… sanitized.

Recently the Chicken Soup people did a book on dysfunctional families, and you know them--it's all nicey-nicey. I want to publish an anthology of stories on the same topic but with edgy humor and a bad-ass attitude. This will be a collection of first-person essays about how it's possible to survive your childhood and turn out just fine despite your nutty upbringing. No mean-spirited rants or sad stories of survival (though you know I love the blend of humor and poignancy). I'm looking for irony, originality, a distinct voice, high quality writing, and a story that'll crack up me.

My working title is How Am I Normal? but I’m totally open to suggestions. I also need to come up with a subtitle.

I really want to give first-time writers a shot at being published, so don’t be shy. There’s no entry fee, reading fee, or cost for editing—all you have to do is tell a funny story.

IMPORTANT: Your story MUST be true, though exaggerations for the sake of humor are acceptable. Here's an example in this passage from Bastard Husband: A Love Story.
I grew up in Albany, New York, where I lived for the first forty-three years of my life. I’m the oldest of five kids spaced over a fourteen-year period, which means I was in ninth grade when my little sister was born. My mother and the girl who sat next to me in French class were pregnant at the same time. Yuk.

Maybe because she always had a new baby to be home with, Mom became increasingly comfortable staying in the house, eventually to the point where she couldn’t leave. She developed agoraphobia and was often doped up on “nerve pills,” which kept her sacked out on the couch for most of the day, waking up for only two things: Jeopardy and the weather during the six o’clock news. Considering she never left the house, the obsession with the weather seemed a bit peculiar. Perhaps she wondered, “Will I need the heavy afghan over me tomorrow or just a light cotton blanket?”
Of course, my mother actually did wake up for things besides Jeopardy and the six o’clock news. That’s an example of an acceptable exaggeration. Everything else is true, though. You get it. (And this also begs the “How am I normal?” question.)

Deadline for submission is August 1, 2010. I expect to have this ready in time for holiday gift giving. I've posted full submission guidelines on www.agingnymphsmedia.com, so go take a look. And help me spread the word!

I think this is going to be a really fun project, and I am committed to making this a high-quality publication that you’ll be proud to be a part of.

Questions? Shoot an email to me at linda@agingnymphsmedia.com.

Now get writing!

15 comments:

Barbara said...

Linda, I have a feeling this book is going to take off flying and be a HUGE HIT! (remember this prediction!) Its a great idea and I love the title, the subtitle will be very important...I'll think along those lines since I don't have a humor story to add. Dang, I wish I did but its hard to find humor in my childhood. I am very excited about this, consider my copy pre-ordered! I will pass the word to all my blog buddies.

K A B L O O E Y said...

Cool! I'm going to do this. I'm not going to get procrastination deter me. (well, I am, but I've got months to procrastinate before the sh*t hits the fan.) Please keep reminding us to send in entries, OK? Yes! I'm going to riiiide your "Make things happen" coattails and get me a chapter in your anthology. I am trying to practice affirmations or something this cynical gal never does, by being all positive, maybe it'll come true.

caprice said...

How exciting...what a perfect opportunity to "jump start" my old writing! I look forward to sending my submission your way.Good luck with your travels outta Vegas and going back East...

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Yes, yes--please submit!

Kablooey, if you're like me, you'll wait until the last week to start the friggin' thing. I always wish I had more time because my piece would be a lot better if only I had one more day and then I swear I'll get the next submission out with time to spare. Yeah. That never happens.

Tracey said...

do you think a little blurb from a chick who's parents divorced and remarried each other 4 times and who moved to the south from southern CA at 14 is something you'd be interested in?

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Um, exactly. Start writing. NOW.

Other Mikey's Julie said...

Darn it Linda - why can't it be about how I am nuts despite my completely normal upbringing? I guess you're right - that is awfully boring...

Mandy's Life After 30 said...

Sounds like a great idea and something I'd very much enjoy reading! Love it! If I think of something, I'll submit but sadly, I think my childhood was too normal, LOL. I got stuck with parents who, although goofy, are pretty great people who I admire a lot. But if I can think of anything, I'll let you know or if any of my wacky friends wish to share their stories, I'll have them contact you. Good luck with the project! Sounds fun!

p.s. - I saw that divorce chicken soup book in the store the other day and found your story in it. I almost bought just b/c it had your name in it but I decided against it since i'm sure the other stories are crap compared to yours. :_)

Vegas Linda Lou said...

BAH-HA-ha! Oh, Mandy.

Sorry about you and Julie having normal childhoods. Like you never heard your mother tell your father to go shit in his hat? That must have sucked.

Julie said...

I was thinking about this in the shower this morning, and how to make my dysFUNctional upbringing humorous. I can pull this off. LOL

gayle said...

This is such a great idea!!

dle said...

Love the idea for the new book, pleased put mer on the pre-order list. I will have to think about the writing..

Anonymous said...

How dysfunctional is my family you ask?

My family is so dysfunctional that when my father died, we couldn't have a memorial service for him because no one in our family would get along with each other.

Shameful.

Pathetic really.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Oh, Anon, that's too bad. Not every family's dysFUNction is the good kind. Same with FUNerals. I hope you turned out normal--maybe you're the Marilyn Munster of your family?

Tara said...

Oh wow, this sounds like a really cool project. Too bad I wouldn't even know where to begin starting a story....