TALES FROM THE YEAR BETWEEN exists at the intersection between Dungeons & Dragons and a group of friends sitting around a campfire. It sits in the Appendix to Return of the King, and in M.T. Anderson's Viriconium. It's one part literary anthology, one part worlds largest writing prompt, and seventeen parts weird. Shake, serve over ice with a twist of lemon and a splash of wormwood. Voila!
Each volume in the series is set in a different, unique world -- a world that didn't exist before the anthology itself. Each contributor explores our new, shared world in their writing -- through flash-fiction and short-stories, though poems, songs and recipes.
The first group is hard at work on the inaugural issue right now! Stay tuned for Volume 1, coming soon!
Most anthologies have themes: a genre, a tone, a mood. Tales From the Year Between has nothing ... nothing but an entire world that doesn't even exist before we embark on an adventure of creation together!
We start with a few rough building blocks -- a genre, the name of a town. That's it. Then, using a modified version of the collective story telling game The Quiet Year, contributors spend a few days telling a year in the life of our town. As a collective we decide on the resources and conflicts that are important to our community, and as a narrative unfolds, the world expands. Languages, religions, ancient feuds and ominous portents. From a blank document, we create a world.
Once the "game" is complete, we have a sprawling, messy playground in which to create. A city with history and a population, with local chieftains and warlords, long abandoned towers and mysterious worms burring beneath the desert sands. Using this shared "cannon," everyone is free to expand and explore and contradict one another in a tangled, surreal mess of interlocking fiction.
The question we ask is: is it fabulous? If so, it gets into the final issue. Standard flash and short-fiction? Sure. But letter from the mayor to his mistress? Great. A recipe for mammoth ribs combined with Nanna Pel'tor's memories of growing up in the Tar Wastes? Even better. A song cycle in a made up language set to gamelan music? Now we're talking. Think your idea is too weird? Our motto is "Factum Est Bonum." It's all good.