Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Curiousities: A Collection of Stories

The Curiousities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff

From acclaimed YA authors Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff comes The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories.

- A vampire locked in a cage in the basement, for good luck.
- Bad guys, clever girls, and the various reasons why the guys have to stop breathing.
- A world where fires never go out (with references to vanilla ice cream).

These are but a few of the curiosities collected in this volume of short stories by three acclaimed practitioners of paranormal fiction.

But The Curiosities is more than the stories. Since 2008, Maggie, Tessa, and Brenna have posted more than 250 works of short fiction to their website Their goal was simple: create a space for experimentation and improvisation in their writing—all in public and without a backspace key. In that spirit, The Curiosities includes the stories and each author's comments, critiques, and kudos in the margins. Think of it as a guided tour of the creative processes of three acclaimed authors.

So, are you curious now?
-Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads

This book is really unique. Not only have all three authors (longtime friends and collaborators) chosen stories from their website, they've added notes (and doodles) to each other and readers in the margins! It's a nifty way to get a peek into their creative processes and friendship. There's also plenty of incidental tips for writers that I'd imagine would be helpful when writing fiction, and plenty of comments give additional insight into the stories. At one point Maggie Stiefvater describes the writing process in a way I'd never heard but immediately liked: "... a story is really a reverse telescope of narrowing opportunities. With every sentence you write, you reduce the number of paths open to you as a writer."

Every anthology is a bit of a mixed bag, but this was one of my favorites this year. The aforementioned caged vampire one was a standout, as was one about a viking's widow, a retelling of Snow White, a Halloween dumb supper, and my personal favorite, one that begins thusly: "I was created of beeswax and honey, with a butterfly for a heart. He should have used a spider or an iridescent beetle." Instant love. 

If you like a good fantasy anthology, this is a solid choice. If you are a fan of any one of these talented ladies and/or a writer, I would recommend this book even more highly.


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