There are many different ways that DargonZine authors can work together on a story. In addition to working directly together on the whole piece, one author might write the first half a story and another person the second half, or one writer could write the first draft, while another enhances subsequent versions until it gets published. An author could ask someone else to write one or two key scenes for them, or pick up a storyline that someone else has given up on. The two halves of “Hidden Talents”, which concludes in this issue, illustrate two of the most common ways that our writers collaborate with one another.
Part 1, which appeared earlier this month in DargonZine 16-2, began as a completely co-authored story, wherein both authors (Carlo Samson and Rena Deutsch) worked closely together to develop the plot and write the story. This is the most intense and challenging form of collaboration, and is something we encourage our writers to try, in order to learn directly from one another.
The second chapter of “Hidden Talents”, which appears in this issue, took a somewhat different course. Carlo wrote the first half of the chapter on his own, but he decided to leave the Dargon Project before the first draft was completed. Rena demonstrated a second common method of collaborating by picking up and completing a story which had been “orphaned” when its author left the project.
At first glance, it might seem odd that Carlo’s name appears on “Hidden Talents” now, a year and a half after his departure, but many of the Dargon stories you see with two names on the byline are similar: the result of someone adopting a story that was left in a partially-complete state by a departing writer. Most writers have one or more stories in the works at any time, and when they leave the group, they are often content to allow others to complete and jointly publish those pieces. We generally try to determine and respect the original author’s intentions and wishes regarding any such unfinished projects.
You may see several such stories in the near future, as two of our veteran writers have taken temporary leaves from the project. P. Atchley, author of fourteen Dargon stories over the past two years, left us last month; however, she has turned two of her works-in-progress over to other writers, and has several more that she hopes to complete after her sabbatical. Similarly, Victor Cardoso took a temporary leave in July, leaving behind a short story that is nearly ready to print. Both writers also turned over partially completed pieces for the big collaborative story arc that came out of the 2003 Dargon Writers’ Summit, as mentioned in DargonZine 16-2′s Editorial.
With all those departures, even if they’re only temporary, it sounds like we might be running out of writers, but I can assure you that’s not the case. In fact, one of the most noticeable improvements in the project has been the addition of Liam Donahue, whose first story also began in our last issue and is concluded in this one. Liam came to us from a background in written roleplaying, first on the message boards of the original Neverwinter Nights on AOL, and later on the now-defunct Tipsy Imp Tavern Web site. Despite changing jobs and moving across country in the past couple months, Liam already has two rough drafts circulating as part of the aforementioned story arc and is working on a third.
As a final note, you might be surprised to see a second issue from us this month, given that we’d only been able to get one issue out prior to September. DargonZine comes out as often as our authors provide enough stories to fill an issue. In this case, we had the opportunity to put two issues out in quick succession, and opted to do so in order to remind you that we’re still here and to demonstrate that you can expect to see us more regularly after our long drought earlier this year.
On that topic, our next issue is well on the way to publication, and it will be distributed toward the end of October. We have more than thirty new stories presently in the peer-review process, many of them part of the big communal story arc I’ve mentioned above. I’m glad you’re still with us, because we’ve got quite an exciting year ahead of us!