As 1997 came to a close, the DargonZine writers took time out to think about our victories and our shortcomings, and how we might improve in 1998. We felt that our biggest shortcoming was the fact that we had only printed one new writer in 1997, and we came up with a bunch of ideas to address that problem.
One of those ideas came from (now ex-) project member Clayton Fair, who suggested a periodic writing contest, where many writers would write about a common theme or event. This would give new writers an immediate story to work on, create more crossovers between storylines in the magazine, and get all our writers writing more. We all thought it was a great idea, and Mike Adams immediately volunteered to own setting it up and making it happen.
Two months later, in February, Mike told us what he expected: a story of 30 KB or less that included the manifestation of a comet over the town of Dargon, which had to be ready to print by July 31, 1998!
Well, it’s been a long road from there! About a dozen people took up the challenge, yet only six stories were ready to print when the deadline came. And we had to throw out the 30 KB limitation, since some of our writers have trouble writing short stories! But our writers diligently cast their ballots, and Mike tallied the results. In the end, there were two works (both of them multi-part stories) that received substantially more votes than the rest of the pack.
The runner-up is Dafydd’s two-part tale “For Bronna”. It begins in this issue, and tells the story of a merchant who commissions a portrait from a somewhat eccentric painter. It will culminate in our next issue, DargonZine 11-8.
And the winner of our contest is Stuart Whitby’s three-part “A Spell of Rain”, in which a mage resorts to dubious magical means to augment the power of his apprentice son. Part 1 appears in DargonZine 11-5, and Part 2 appears in DargonZine 11-6. Ironically, although being “ready to print” was a criteria for entry into the contest, Stuart wasn’t able to put the finishing touches on the final chapter of his story before this issue went to print! So, like Dafydd’s story, “A Spell of Rain” will also culminate in our next issue.
We’ve enjoyed participating in this contest. It has definitely given us lots of great material to print, and we’ve introduced two new writers in Stuart Whitby, the contest winner, and Don Will, whose story “Paula’s Star” appears in this issue. And we hope that you enjoy reading the stories!
So, in addition to bringing you the first half of Dafydd’s story, in this issue we also bring you two more contest entries from Jim Owens and Don Will. Look for more contest stories to appear throughout the rest of the year, and especially look forward to the conclusions of our two prize-winning stories in DargonZine 11-8!