In my previous Editorial, I described some of our major accomplishments and events in 2000, our sixteenth year on the Internet. We put out a record number of issues containing more fiction than ever before, improved our feedback loop by giving you the ability to rate each story you read, and more. In this Editorial we’ll look forward, and I’ll give you an idea what we’re planning for 2001, our seventeenth year.
So what can you look forward to in coming months? We plan on giving our Web site, which was introduced back in 1995, a substantial overhaul in the latter half of the year, and prior to that point we’ll be soliciting lots of input from you, our audience. That will be a major focus this year, and you can expect to hear more regarding that in forthcoming Editorials.
We’re also working on several enhancements that will make DargonZine’s huge body of fiction more accessible to everyone, and especially to new readers. Toward that end, we’re developing a summary of Dargon’s history in the form of a timeline, to help you more easily understand the background of our stories. We’re also just finishing up adding lots of context to the “references” section of our Online Glossary, which will make it easier for you to follow the threads of connection between stories. And this year we will be publishing the results of our immense effort at mapping the city of Dargon, and that should give you a much more detailed image of the town we write about. In recent years we haven’t spent much time helping our readers get up to speed on the extensive setting we’ve built, and in 2001 we hope to reverse that trend.
In addition to those efforts, we’ll continue doing a lot of additional work behind the scenes to better serve our contributing writers. Our push toward incorporation will continue, and we’ll once again gather for our annual Dargon Writers’ Summit, this year in San Jose, California. We’re building up a reference library of lessons learned and revising our FAQs for writers, as well as enhancing the systems that allow us to keep cranking out fiction for you. And although DargonZine itself is strictly noncommercial in nature, some of our authors aspire to commercial success, and they’ve initiated a “publishing challenge” amongst the group to see who can be the first to get paid publishing credits.
This is going to be a pivotal year for us. As you can see, we’ve identified a number of very ambitious goals, and are more focused than ever on improving what we do, both for you, our readers, as well as for the aspiring authors who are at the heart of this magazine’s mission. I hope you continue to stay with us and enjoy the work we put forth for you.
This issue is a great snapshot of three representative Dargon writers, and three different types of stories, all at different points in their evolution.
Our first story is a standalone tale from a brand-new writer, R. F. Niro. He joined the group last May, and I hope you’ll enjoy his first effort for DargonZine. It’s not uncommon for stories to take nine to twelve months to go from concept to publication, and “The Target that Eludes Me” is typical. Although the first draft was essentially done in July, the story went through five major revisions before it was ready to print. During that time it was commented on and critiqued dozens of times, and I’m sure the author would agree that although the process was lengthy and sometimes frustrating, it has improved both this particular story and his skills as a writer. Mr. Niro’s experience is typical of a writer who has recently joined the group.
Our second story is the first chapter in a short series. It comes from a writer who has been with us over a year now: P. Atchley. After having her first story printed last year, she began working with another Dargon writer on a joint collaboration. In addition to writing, she has volunteered for projects that help us better serve our readers and writers. Ms. Atchley will be using her co-authoring experience as the basis for assembling a document full of lessons learned that could be shared with other writers who might be embarking on a collaborative effort. Like most writers who have been with the project a year or two, Ms. Atchley isn’t just benefiting from the project, but is also thinking about how she can give back to the group and make it work better for everyone. DargonZine couldn’t work without this kind of “above and beyond” contribution from our participating writers.
The issue is rounded out with another installment of Dafydd’s “Talisman” series. In contrast to Mr. Niro’s standalone tale and Ms. Atchley’s short series, “Talisman” is more like a serialized novel, with this chapter being the 26th installment. Dafydd also represents our veterans. He’s approaching his fifteenth anniversary with us and has printed an astonishing 45 stories. His role on the project has changed over time, including running the show for several years. His knowledge of the world of Dargon is unsurpassed, and his opinions respected. When you’ve been with the project for five or ten years, DargonZine seems like an integral part of your life, and its community of writers will include lifelong friendships.
So that’s both an introduction to this issue, an overview of some different types of stories, and a look at the different phases that Dargon writers go through over time. I hope you enjoy the results of these writers’ hard work, and as always, thanks for your continuing interest in DargonZine!