Once you decide what stories to include in an anthology, then comes the decision about the order in which those stories should appear. I decided to focus on a fantasy theme for the first anthology I'm putting together and that made the decision of what stories to include easy. To get 70,000 words, I needed to include all my Sword & Sorcery pieces.
But now for the order of the stories! From what I understand it is especially important to have a very strong story up front, and to end with another especially strong story. This issue is complicated for me at the beginning because I have both serious and humorous Sword & Sorcery pieces. Which should I start with.
I decided that starting with a humorous story would set a tone I didn't particularly like. Most of the stories aren't humorous so I don't want to give the impression with the first piece that the collection is light hearted. Once I decided to go with a serious piece, I faced another issue. Six of the serious stories I have feature the same character, Thal Kyrin. This makes up over a third of the collection and raises several questions. Should I run all the Thal stories back to back? Should I put these stories in chronological order in relationship to Thal's life? Or should I put them in the order that I wrote them?
I decided against chronological order in relationship to Thal's life because I wouldn't have the strongest story up front then. I also didn't put them in the order I wrote them for similar reasons, although I'm going back and revising early stories to take out the worst bumps from my inexperience at the time.
Anyway, these are some of the issues I'm dealing with as I start this project. More on the process as I continue, and I hope at least a few folks are getting something of interest from this.