Composing A Table of Contents

Composing — what is it? I imagine in many people’s mind it’s a process closely linked to music. For years it was to me. Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner — great classical composers. In more recent times John Lennon, Prince and Kate Bush can probably rightfully be referred to as great composers as well, in the modern realm of music.

“Compose” essentially means “to make by combining things, parts” etc. (Notice that I say essentially, not exclusively, since I know there are variants, but this element is at the core, and that’s my point.)

So an editor, and a collector of stories gathered between the same covers, is also a composer. Probably not something many people consider. I may be wrong, but that’s my suspicion. There’s nothing wrong with that, but to me this idea is important, the idea of composing is something I am quite aware of when trying to fit stories in an anthology. And am becoming more aware of with each new project. I don’t know how other editors do, but it certainly is an integrated part of my working process.

I actually liken this to the idea of creating a piece of music. There is basically a start, a middle and an ending — and for the piece to actually work, to move, to excite, all notes, movements etc. have to be combined in a way that creates a unified whole. Much like literature, a good story, wouldn’t you agree?

The same goes — at least for me — for creating an anthology.

Now, I am of course not saying the editor (in casu me) deserves all credit for the collection, and that the stories should only be considered as part of that whole. Some might think that’s what I mean. Not at all. The stories are of course a unified whole in themselves and the writers are the ones to be credited for everything here. What I am saying is merely that for me, when I have the stories I need for a collection of stories I start to work with these stories as if creating a greater whole; that is, in my small way I compose. I consider if there is an overarching theme — in case of e.g. Urban Cthulhu: Nightmare Cities there obviously is — and then I start to look at how this puzzle can be solved best to create a unified whole.

All elements — that is, all the stories — are equally important, and the trick is to make it all fit in the most suitable and satisfying manner. With a beginning, a middle and an end. I have no doubt that not a single soul except me will ever see this “general puzzle” of things, but that’s OK, for I know it, and it is something that’s important to me and the way I work. (OK, after this post there may be a few other readers who see this too:-P)

I try to approach this without considering if, for instance, the opening story is written by a Big Known Name or not. (Doesn’t make much sense anyway, since books from my small press are primarily purchased by readers online and not in a brick-and-mortar bookstore, so it’s not like they’re browsing the first couple of pages, now is it?) Instead I wonder what tale seems most suitable to create just the right note for a beginning in this particular collection. That is of course depending on what comes after — and so it goes right to the end, where we need the right kind of story to fill in as a Finale. Whether a Grand Big Bang Finale or a more low-key tale of subtle darkness. Depending on — ta-daaaa — what went before and seems to be the right ending in this context.

Much ado about nothing? Perhaps, for the reader; but not for me. It’s how I do it. I can’t help it (and I don’t want to help it). I am doing it these days with Urban Cthulhu, with Dystre Danmark 2 and the third volume of the Danish hplmythos.dk anthology (still untitled).

Thank you to all the amazingly talented writers for giving me another opportunity to delve into this editorial world of weird, dark composing.

Advertisements

TEASER 1: Strømsholt’s DE UNDERJORDISKE, the Paperback Edition

It’s official: The first teaser ever from H. Harksen Productions. On the coming Danish paperback collection by Thomas Strømsholt, De underjordiske — but anyone can watch it, since it’s only the written words that are in Danish… The rest is, well, universal;-)

I hope you like it. And if you do, I’d much appreciate if you share it, “like it” etc., etc., in order for it to get a boost online. You know — the Google’n’Facebook way.

A big thank you to Jonas Wilmann, another Danish horror writer, who so kindly granted me permission to use his amazing and atmospheric recording called “Eerie.”

DYSTRE DANMARK 2: Update

(In Danish.)

Dystre Danmark 2 test cover

Ja… Allerede en update. Der er i løbet af de sidste dage sket par ændringer i forbindelse med novellerne til Dystre Danmark 2. F.eks. kan jeg nu afsløre forfatteren til den novelle, som jeg afventede svar på: Ingen andre end A. Silvestri! Velkommen i flokken, hr. Silvestri. Det glæder mig at have Deres nye og yderst grumme fortælling med i samlingen.

Det er derfor med stor fornøjelse at jeg kan oplyse at indholdslisten nu er som følger:

INDHOLD:

  • “ Jacobs stige” af A. Silvestri
  • “Blomstervanding” af Lars Ahn Pedersen
  • “Sammenhold” af Jonas Wilmann
  • “Ønsket” af Thomas Daugaard
  • “Babyalarm” af Patrick Leis
  • “En morders drøm” af Thomas Bøttern
  • “Strålende lys, udstrakt verden” af Nikolaj Johansen
  • “Portræt af dukke og dreng” af Bjarke Schjødt Larsen
  • “Stemmen” af Søren Kayser
  • “Jægeren” af Sandra Schwartz
  • “Stumt vanvid” af Freddy E. Silva
  • “Røg” af Morten Carlsen
  • (Endnu uden titel) af Jeppe Bisbjerg
  • (Endnu uden titel) af Henrik Sandbeck Harksen

Jeg er en glad mand:-)

Strømsholts DE UNDERJORDISKE paperback proof copy:-)

image

Just wanted to share this moment with you. I am so excited about this. The proof copy of the Danish collection DE UNDERJORDISKE (“The Subterraneans”) paperback edition by Thomas Strømsholt. Looking good. A very fine job by a new printer…

They are now ready to print and ship all copies next week! So official publication date is mid-june. Just as I was hoping.

Exciting!

DYSTRE DANMARK 2: Noveller valgt

(I told ya — this one is in Danish;-))

Dystre Danmark 2 test cover

Så er det blevet tid til at afsløre indholdet af Dystre Danmark 2:

INDHOLD:

  • “Blomstervanding” af Lars Ahn Pedersen
  • “Sammenhold” af Jonas Wilmann
  • “Ønskebarnet” af Thomas Daugaard
  • “Babyalarm” af Patrick Leis
  • “En morders drøm” af Thomas Bøttern
  • “Strålende lys, udstrakt verden” af Nikolaj Johansen
  • “Portræt af dukke og dreng” af Bjarke Schjødt Larsen
  • “Stemmen” af Søren Kayser
  • “Jægeren” af Sandra Schwartz
  • “Stumt vanvid” af Freddy E. Silva
  • “Røg” af Morten Carlsen
  • (Endnu uden titel) af Jeppe Bisbjerg
  • (Endnu uden titel) af Henrik Sandbeck Harksen
  • (Afventer bekræftelse på en enkelt novelle mere…)

De af jer, som er bekendt med første bind af Dystre Danmark samt Lyden af vanvid (2. bind i hplmythos.dk serien) vil bemærke, at der er tale om en fin blanding af nye og “gamle” forfattere. Nogle har udgivet noveller i andre sammenhænge. En skøn, skøn blanding af 13 nyskrevne, dystre danske fortællinger. Mange, mange tak til alle som sendte materiale ind. Jeg måtte sortere en del fra, men sådan er det jo. Resultatet er dog, efter min mening, en fantastisk god og spændende samling. Jeg glæder mig meget til at give mig i kast med den til efteråret.

Coveret er et af de første, grove, udkast til bogen. Igen er H. Harksen Productions faste design-medarbejder, Tomas Gindeberg, på banen med sit talent.

Announcement: URBAN CTHULHU stories found

I know you have been waiting, holding your breath — close to dying — wanting to find out what stories and authors you can find in Volume 2 of my hplmythos.com Series, Urban Cthulhu: Nightmare Cities. Well, rest at ease at long last, my shadow friends on the web. The final decisions have been made, and here are the tales you will find:

CONTENTS:

  • “the guilt of each… at the end…” by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
  • “Dancer of the Dying” by Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
  • “The Neighbors Upstairs” by John Goodrich
  • “Carcosapunk” by Glynn Owen Barrass
  • “Architect Eyes” by Thomas Strømsholt
  • “Slou” by Robert Tangiers
  • “Ozeelah’s Lake” by Morten Carlsen
  • “The Statement of Frank Elwood” by Pete Rawlik
  • “Night Life” by Henrik Sandbeck Harksen
  • (I expect a couple of more confirmations, but will reserve the mentioning of those stories till I’ve heard from the authors;-))

I am really, really impressed by this collection. In all modesty (or not) I think this will truly be a fine addition to the Cthulhu Mythos & Lovecraftian publications that sprawl the world. And any interested reader will find tales that reveal a new, hitherto unexamined corner of this genre — the urban Cthulhu area. (And yes, the .com site will be updated with this information, but it will take a few days longer.)

A deeply felt thank you to all contributors.

Tomorrow: Revealing the stories to the Danish Dystre Danmark 2. In Danish;-)