A Collection of Short Stories Can Constitute an Anthology

Woman holding anthology book

Created with Canva and Dream by Wombo

Many writers want to know what to do with their short stories. One very common place to submit them is for inclusion into anthologies. Not only do some anthologies accept short stories, but they also accept poems, essays, memoirs, and other writings. Therefore, a collection of short stories and other writings can appear in anthologies.

According to Twinkl, “An anthology can be a collection of writings from various authors that all use the same literary formation. It can also be a collection of writings from just a singular author, too.”

Find out more information anthologies here:


The Stories of She Copy

Some anthologies have a theme. In the anthology, The Stories of She, in which my short story, “Mellie’s Mountain,” appears, the theme is female lead characters written by female writers. The anthology strictly requested short stories as opposed to other types of writing. The genre did not matter. The anthology, The Stories of She, can be purchased from Amazon.

Are you thinking about writing a collection of short stories? Stephen King has a chilling collection of them in an anthology called The Skeleton Crew. As you master the art of storytelling, you can get busy with memorializing your short stories into an anthology, too.

What Constitutes a
Great Collection of Short Stories?

Girls with great short stories

Created with Dream by Wombo

Awesome short stories have one fundamental thing in common, the writing is great. You may want to review the nine parts of speech that great writers have mastered and incorporated into their writings. In addition, successful short stories also incorporate the five basic elements, which are:

  • Character
  • Setting
  • Plot
  • Conflict
  • Theme

When building upon the basics of short story writing, infuse these other elements into it:


Your character must have a backstory. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy one, but it will give your character depth. What happened in her past that influenced her actions in this story? What does she want? What does she fear?


Your character must be complex. This is what makes her stand out. She has an obvious conflict but there is something more that's going on with her. Something below the surface has to be brought to light and reckoned with. Ordinary characters are boring. Why would your reader care about a boring character?


Is your main character likable? She should be to some extent, to the extent that your reader will root for her in tough situations. What makes a character likable? It’s the same as what makes real people likable. Perhaps you see someone nurturing a sick goat or you see someone feeding the homeless. You witness a person paying for a stranger’s meal.

Witnessing these acts of kindness tugs at the heart. Weave acts of kindness into your story as these relate to your main or supporting character. But don't go overboard. Sometimes a sweet smile from your main character in a situation will go a long way.

Don't forget these points:

Read short stories often, especially in the genre that you want to write. Practice writing them. The first ones will probably collect dust on a shelf if you haven’t thrown them away. Refuse to give up. Great writers keep writing, while those who don’t make it become frustrated and quit. 

Get feedback on your short stories. A writing group will do this if you’ve joined one. If not, then do so. Receiving quality feedback is a must.

Will Your Submission Get Accepted into the 
Collection of Short Stories Anthology?

Anthology editor man

Created with Canva and Dream by Wombo

There are many reasons why your story will not get accepted into the anthology. But remember, a well-written story will be hard for an editor to pass up. If he passes on it, your story may fail to meet the anthology guidelines. Often writers overlook guidelines, such as word count, theme, deadline, and other rules. Do adhere to these, and read them over several times, especially before submitting your short story.

Make sure you develop these elements well in your story:

Character: Do you know your character well? If not, your reader won’t know her well either, and what ultimately happens to her won’t move the reader’s emotions. In my free ebook, The Art and the Alchemy of Writing, I give an example of a character’s backstory, which includes his worldview. We know who Spencer is, his private thoughts, his inner workings. It makes him human, and the reader can meet him as he seemingly steps out from the page. 

Setting: Depending on the genre of your story, the setting can play a major part. In sci-fi, the setting is more important than, say, a modern-day love story where the characters meet in a coffee shop. Modern-day, your reader understands, but in sci-fi, you have to build that world for her. If you fail at this task, then this is a good reason why your short story might not get accepted.

Plot: In what direction is your story going? What is your story about? What stops your protagonist from reaching her goal? Are the sequences that you lay out interesting and logical? Is your reader still with you in the middle of your story or did you lose her at the starting gate? If she doesn’t have questions, concerns, or worries about what’s going on in your story, you will not get approved for the anthology. You must have twists that will surprise the reader. And above all, your ending must not be wholly predictable. 

Conflict: This is where your character gets into hot water. You’ve got to have tension and conflict in your story. This is why your reader has followed you into the heart of the story. Suppose your lead character surprises the monster beneath the bridge at midnight. Your lead character has no weapons, but the monster is a weapon itself. 

Theme: What is the overall take-away message? It could be that good wins over evil. Or the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Or maybe it’s about being bullied.

If the above points aren’t balanced, your story won’t be balanced, and it may not find a place in the collection of short stories anthology. By being balanced, it does not mean that each element has to be given equal weight. Again, the setting may be more important in sci-fi than in romance. Also, if your short story is very short, your dedication to the elements listed will not be as detailed as a short story that approaches the word count of a novella.

Some anthology editors may like your story but may have major issues with it. They may ask you to correct these issues or they may even ask you permission to let them correct the issues for you. 

Not enough can be said of the necessity for you to read a collection of short stories to get a feel for great writing and to let you know how high the bar is set. Your writings may raise the bar even higher once you master and incorporate these tips and elements into your short story writing.

“What Is an Anthology?” Twinkl.Com.Eg, www.twinkl.com.eg/teaching-wiki/anthology. Accessed 11 Sept. 2023.