Sheila Chandra says in Organizing Your Creative Career to always return to the guidelines before you start your project to do a quick review. Basically, make sure that you don’t start the project before you recheck what it requires.

Because it’s sometimes easy to miss a detail, especially with us creative types. I was planning on starting a story for an anthology call. I had the perfect story that would fit. I was going to set in 1940s because I doubted anyone else would do that. It would also have a dog in it.

Spent time yesterday morning coming up with potential names for the characters. With the setting, I had to be careful to get names that:

  1. Weren’t too old-fashioned
  2. Felt like they could be used today.
  3. Didn’t feel like an anachronism (Katie was a name used then and my first reaction was that people would think it was too modern).

So I searched for 1900s last names and pinged on a university site that had posted a list of the names in the local census. I started listing all kinds of names because I knew I was going to need some not only for my main character but other characters.

Then I did some quick research for the story. Since it’s the 1940s, clothes are an easy way to establish the era. They were very distinctive and also shows the character. One of the sites had a timeline of the fashion changes and historical events, and I pinged on one event. Searched on images for the historical event and landed a headline I can use in the story (that’s from Kris Rusch).

Then I zoomed back to reread the guidelines to make sure I covered everything they wanted.

And discovered they only wanted contemporary stories. Whoops!

So that story will become a novella and I’ll have to come up with another one for the anthology call. But I’m glad I reviewed the guidelines carefully first so I didn’t send them a story they were going to reject out of hand!