Despite having recently had a story accepted at Trust & Treachery, I used to cruise past anthology listings at Duotrope with little more than passing interest. If I happened to have a story that fit a themed anthology, I’d add it to my ever-growing list of potential markets, but often as not, I’d skip past them.
A couple of months back, I read through the newly added markets and saw an anthology listing calling for werewolf stories. I’d never written a werewolf story, never wanted to, and had never given it even the briefest considersation. But the listing gave me the germ of an idea and I sat down and wrote out a story in less than two hours. (Nothing akin to that has ever happened before. I’d never finished a story in a day before, must less in a couple of hours.) Not only did the story appear to spontaneously write itself while I watched, my writers group could find only minimal mistakes in it to correct.
A story I would have otherwise never have dreamt of unfolded before me with the least amount of effort and, I dare say it, with perhaps the very best result I’ve ever managed. (I can’t emphasize enough how werewolves aren’t my normal style, but still, it turned out really well.) So, now when I cast my net at Duotrope, I read the upcoming anthology deadlines with an open mind and I’d like to encourage all my fellow short-story writers to do the same. And even if you don’t find a topic to inspire you to new adventures in writing, it’s genuinely amusing to see some of the themes. (Just how many mores times, I ask myself, will I read a listing and say “that’s a theme now?!”)