What is DargonZine?
DargonZine publishes stories created by the Dargon Project. The Dargon Project is an online writers’ group, where many authors write in a common milieu, sharing settings and characters. Our stories take place in a medieval fantasy world that is predominantly human, at a late medieval technology level, and where magic is rare and wondrous. The duchy of Dargon is the common thread that all stories share. All Dargon Project works take place in that milieu, and authors are encouraged to share and borrow the places and characters and events that take place there.
You can learn more about the world of the Dargon Project by reading the New Readers’ Intro.
- Does DargonZine accept submissions that aren’t Dargon fiction?
We do have a Workshop section where writers can post non-DargonZine material for peer review and feedback, but we print strictly Dargon Project material in our issues.
- Do I have to join the project in order to submit stories?
Yes. Because this is a collaborative project, as a non-member you can’t just submit a story for publication. Submissions must integrate with both the existing body of published work, and any work that is currently planned or in queue.You will also be expected to critique others’ works and contribute to the shared world. People who don’t want to participate in a communal project should consider submitting to other emags.
- How do I become a project member?
To become an official Dargon Project member, simply fill out a form and sign up. Once you’re added to the mailing list and message boards, you’re a member, and will start receiving mail from the writers’ forum. Once you start seeing list mail, send out a brief hello to introduce yourself to the group.
- How frequently will I be expected to publish?
Well, it’ll probably take some time for you to get up to speed, so your first story may take some time. One to three stories per year would be great!All authors are expected to post status reports at the beginning of each month, indicating the stories they are working on, where those stories are in the pipeline, and what progress they have made in the previous month.
- Do I get paid for publishing in DargonZine?
No. DargonZine is oriented toward the aspiring amateur writer, and as such is thoroughly noncommercial. We have no funds with which to compensate writers. No one receives monetary compensation for the work they put into the project. The value our writers derive is from sharing ideas and techniques with other writers.
- Do I need to pay in order to participate in the Dargon Project?
Kinda sort-of, but not much. Let us explain…For the first dozen years, the editor handled all costs incurred in producing DargonZine. However, it takes money to run DargonZine yearly. In order to relieve the editor of these costs and more fairly distribute the burden of our “vanity publishing”, the authors voted to institute what we think is a fair system of dues for writers. It works like this:The only people who *have* to pay dues are those who have been with the project for more than a year, and who have had at least one story printed in DargonZine. That way new writers have a “free trial” period to determine whether the group is of value to them.
Furthermore, the fees are graduated. People who have full-time jobs are expected to contribute the full fee: $25 per year. But students, part-time workers, and other people who are cash-poor are only expected to contribute $12.50 per year.
We hope that is a fair system. The intent is to try to offset some of the costs associated with running the magazine, and all dues and expenses are strictly tracked by the Assistant Editor.
Note that paying dues doesn’t relieve a writer of their other requirements such as actively working on stories and participating in discussions. Even if you have paid dues, you are still subject to removal from the project if you aren’t an active participant.
- Who retains what rights to stories printed in DargonZine?
DargonZine retains the right to reproduce its own issues and reprint stories for special collections such as “Best Of” issues. The names “Dargon” and “DargonZine” are copyrighted by the editor. The author retains all other rights. A copyright notice to that effect appears in every issue.Be aware that most publishing houses and magazines consider publication in DargonZine to constitute surrender of “first publication rights”. This has implications for writers who wish to print their Dargon stories elsewhere.Also note that your use of other writers’ characters is with their permission — they retain the rights to those characters. Unauthorized use of characters and things that are not yours, in stories that are printed elsewhere, constitutes a violation of copyright laws. Because of these issues and the essentially collaborative nature of stories which take place within the shared milieu, DargonZine stories cannot be published outside DargonZine itself unless reworked so that they no longer reference the shared world or any other elements which the publishing writer does not have exclusive ownership of.
- Do I retain control of the characters and things I contribute?
Once you have introduced something to the project, anyone can (with your permission) use it. After you leave the project, your characters and things become free game for anyone to use. Writers are encouraged both to use other writers’ characters and places, and also to create characters and places and things that other writers can reference in their stories.While you are an active Dargon Project member, you are the “curator” of the characters, places, and things that you create. You are the authority on those things, and have final say in what can be printed regarding it, unless you are overruled by the group as a whole. However, if you leave the project, the project retains the right to use those characters and things within future Dargon Project stories. “Curatorship” of those entities may also be transferred to other active writers.
- Can I use other peoples’ characters and things?
As this is a collaborative anthology, authors are highly encouraged to use other writers’ characters, but there are some important factors to be kept in mind. Above all, check with the curator of the character. That character may be destined to do something else or be in the wrong geographic location or be out of touch in terms of timeframe. If the original curator is no longer with the Project, check with the group to see if someone else has adopted or is using the character in their work.
- How do you resolve conflicts?
Obviously, the first thing to try is compromise. If differences of opinion still exist, the opinion of the majority of active Dargon Project writers generally rules. In cases where a conflict cannot be resolved through consensus, the editor has the final say, but this rarely happens.
- Is there anything else I have to do as a project member?
As a project member, you are expected to be an active participant in the discussions that take place on forum and the email list. You are expected to provide opinions and critiques of other authors’ ideas and stories in a timely manner. Your comments on stories should be turned around within two to three weeks at most. And don’t forget those monthly status reports! In short, Dargon is not a place for lurkers!Individuals who do not actively participate in the project and are “idle” for several months at a time will periodically be removed from the Dargon Project at the editor’s discretion.When you join the Dargon Project, you will find some people who are better writers than you, and some who aren’t as good, and many with specific areas of knowledge. One of the difficulties you face is taking blunt criticism of your writing maturely, without getting emotional. Remember that criticism is intended to improve your writing.
You are also expected to provide criticism of others’ works in a sensitive and constructive way. Be considerate in your comments. The goal of the project is to provide a supportive environment for aspiring writers who wish to improve.
Above all else, be a professional.
Our writers are invited to attend the DargonZine Writers’ Summit, which is held in a different location each year. The Summit is about half work and half sightseeing, and lots of fun.
It is also hoped that you’ll help promote the magazine by telling your friends and encouraging people you meet on the net to subscribe. The magazine’s success is in your hands, and we hope that you can help us make it better.