Greetings, and welcome to Volume 11, Issue 3 of DargonZine.
Orny, our esteemed editor, has invited me to write a guest editorial. I thought I would give you, the reader, some insight into what happens when a new writer joins Dargon, and how a story goes from idea to published work.
I joined Dargon in mid-April of 1996. Like most of you, I was widely read in both science fiction and fantasy, and like many of you, had a desire to write. I was surfing the ‘net and stumbled across the Dargon website. I was amazed to find that I could be a part of the whole venture, and I signed up immediately.
One of the first things a new writer tries to do is read all the back issues. I still haven’t done it, and I’ve been here a while. After a few weeks you can get quite busy being a part of this group. Not only are you trying to write stories, but so are several other people, and you are expected to provide critiques of their stories, as well as debate the structure of the shared world. It can be intimidating to a new writer.
I had an idea up and running within two weeks, and had tentative approval from the List to proceed. It took three weeks for me to come up with my first draft, and I was feeling very good about myself. That didn’t last long, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. Soon, critiques began to appear in my Inbox. I eagerly read the critiques, and made quite a few changes to my story.
Then came a late critique! It was brutal; very fair, honest, and correct, but tough to swallow, nonetheless. Looking back, I’m grateful to the guys for thoses reviews, because the story that came out the other side was a much better story because of the changes I made. By that time, I was pretty sick of the story, having written or rewritten it four or five times, but I made the effort.
One last time, I posted the story to the List, and thankfully, it was ready to print. I was elated. I was almost a published writer. Now my story had to join the queue of other stories that were ready to print. It finally appeared in December of 1996. My story had taken eight months from inception to publication, probably an average turnaround time.
Last, but certainly not least, in August of 1997, eight months after publication, I got an e-mail from someone who had read the story, and felt moved enough to write me. I walked on air for days. The feeling you get when someone says “I liked your story” is as powerful as almost any I’ve felt. A story is my own creation; it comes from inside, deep inside, and exposing that to complete strangers is risky. But with the help of the other writers on the List, I’ve found that it can also be very fulfilling.
This time we’ve got Part 5 of 6 of Alan Lauderdale’s “Quadrille.” Also on board is Jim Owens with “And How You Will Believe?”, a story of Stevenism and mystery. And finally, I’m proud to introduce Brandon Haught’s first story, “The Gong Farmer”, a tale about the “smallest room” in the castle. It’s great to see new writers go the distance, and thanks to all of you for letting us do this.