Over the course of the past six months or so, The Dargon Project has seen a small influx of new authors. This is very exciting for us, as we’re always looking for more writers (the philosophy being, the more active writers we have, the more stories will be produced, and the more issues we can send to you, the readers). This also raises a small difficulty for us, however, as we have 25 years of back stories and written canon with which authors must be at least familiar, if not intimate. None of us knows *everything* in the back catalog, and even combined we probably only know (in our heads) about 85 to 90 percent of the material (which is why we have an extensive database, and timelines, and lots of other tools for the writers).
The challenge, as you can see, is helping new authors get up to speed, without their needing to read every single back story. When I first joined, over 20 years ago, there were only four volumes of FSFNet to delve through, and I was a college student with way too much time on my hands. I went through it in a couple of weeks. Authors today would probably spend months just reading the materials and then would have to catch up on lots of e-mails and discussions on our forums. We do have a loose mentoring program, but that has always been a bit flimsy in both its construction and execution. One of the methods we try to use is to provide a list of “must read” stories to the new authors that allows them to get a feel for Dargon before they start writing. But even that can vary, as some mentors will say “read the last four issues” (thereby giving the new author a sense of what has been happening in Dargon) while others will pick out their personal favorites. Still, I tend to believe that to be a worthwhile starting point for new authors.
So that brings me to my question for you, the readers: what stories do you think encompass the feel of Dargon, and the Dargon Project as a whole? What stories do you think are “essential Dargon” material? I absolutely encourage you to contact me directly, or the Dargon Project mailbox, with your suggestions. You can suggest as many stories as you like, whether is just one single story or a series of stories, or several completely disconnected stories that, as a whole, embody for you the spirit of Dargon. Please let us know.
Until then, let me present to you the latest issue of DargonZine. Last issue, I told you there was a new series coming out that I couldn’t wait for you to read. It’s from our most prolific author, Dafydd, and the first episode of Ol Tamboch Narhin starts this issue. We also have former editor and current production magnate Liam Donahue returning to print with Shattered Dreams, which gives us a broader introduction to the new race of beings entering Dargon, the mysterious Doravin. Enjoy!