DargonZine, like its precursor, FSFNet, was founded on the idea of helping writers to improve. Our mission statement is exactly that. In fact, I am a shining example of it. When I look back at my early texts, and see how amateurish they are to my own eyes, sometimes it takes me a few moments to realize that I have actually improved my writing over the past two decades.Why were my earlier stories published? Why were they allowed to see print? Because DargonZine fosters those who truly wish to learn.
It can be a difficult process; but for me, twenty years later, it is ultimately rewarding. I can see the difference in my characters, my description, and even my grammar. I can hear their voices, feel the objects in their hands, and I know what they see when they step out their doors in the morning.
Our review process has certainly helped me a great deal, and it is one of the most significant benefits of writing for DargonZine. Collaborative writing aside, getting good, solid feedback on my craft is a huge benefit. And of course, seeing my name in print – even after all these years with Dargon – is still a spectacular rush. I’m the Editor now; technically, I get to decide if a story is good enough to print. And yet, I still wonder if my own stories will be accepted.
Alas, I am old(er). Like many of my compatriots at DargonZine, twenty years have seen me morph from an energetic collegiate to a middle-aged dad. My youth is still strong in my mind, my heart is still vibrant and firm, but the demands that weigh upon me are those of a more mature, more complex life. While I believe my writing has significantly improved, my available time to write has diminished exponentially. Many of our original authors are in the same boat. So in order to continue creating great fiction, what DargonZine needs is a good shot of youth. What we need are young, energetic, and enthusiatic writers. We need writers who are not concerned with their inexperience — it can actually be a great asset — because we truly are an organization that teaches, molds, and encourages writing.
Are you one of those writers? Can you brave the walls of antiquity, weather the storm of criticism, and conquer the city of Dargon? Then come among us, and be welcome. Join us, and create! Imagine! Inspire others with your own vision and creativity! Over the past year, many of the stories in our publication schedule were those of new authors — some young, some old, but all new to DargonZine. This coming year, many of our traditional authors (Dafydd, Rena, myself, and Liam) are returning to the fold, but we’re mixed in with a healthy dose of new creators, including D’artagnon Wells, our most prolific new author.
This month, I have the pleasure of sharing the issue with the aforementioned D’artagnon. He brings us the first of a three-part series involving a battle mage and his unexpected return to his home town of Dargon. My own story puts a decidedly less magical character against one of Dafydd’s villains of old.
As ever, we wish you good reading.