We’ve All Been There, an anthology put together by Elisabeth Ashlin and several others, is a collection created and inspired by the National Novel Writing Month. Writers from around the world were given the theme “going back or returning” with a prompt of concealment or hiding. Submitting their stories to a forum group on www.nanowrimo.org, each story was voted on anonymously by the editors, and the winning stories were collected into this book.
A better theme that could describe these stories is longing, as most, if not all of the stories will leave the reader longing for more. Some stories will leave the reader longing to read more of the world and the people in it and some might leave them longing for more of a conclusion to the story. The most difficult aspect a reader will have to adjust to are the varied topics and genres each author chose to write about. You could find yourself reading a story where a person gets lost in a mysterious forest that hints at elements of magic and fantasy, such as Marcy Dewey Mahoney’s “Wanderlust.” Or find yourself reading a story of returning home to a father left bedridden by a stroke and reconnecting to an element of the person’s past as in Katy Mann’s “Coming Home.” You will even find a story with heavy elements of science fiction interlaced with questions of scientific and societal morality, as found in K Andrew Turner’s “Experimental Gift.”
Overall, We’ve All Been There is a great book of light and easy to read stories that are perfect for when you need an escape or only have a brief moment to read. The book is also an example of the NaNoWriMo movement and how it can inspire writers, and even, if you’re lucky, for aspiring authors to find a route to publication.
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