On Themed Fiction

In 2018, Carina Bissett had the extinction of animals on her mind. Inspired by the severe hail storm in Colorado Springs and the quiet news that giraffes had slipped on the Critically Endangered list, she wrote the short story “An Authentic Experience”—a story about a zookeeper and the animals he cares for after Earth had been destroyed by an alien civilization. It was also her first year as a member of The Nearby Universe, and “An Authentic Experience” was one of the first pieces of fiction she workshopped with the group.

“An Authentic Experience” was published in the anthology WILD: Uncivilized Tales from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, which was released in September 2020.

Inside of writing to meet the needs of themed submission calls, she prefers to send in pieces she’s already completed.

Ultimately, I’ve decided that it’s best to write the stories that call to me, regardless of whether or not I think they might be marketable. I polish those pieces and hoard them like a dragon safekeeping gems. And then, when a submission call comes along that brushes up against the theme or mood in one of those stories, I send it out. No agonizing creative stress. No last minute panic. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s been a winning strategy for me so far.

Carina Bissett

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