Last issue, I told you the Dargon Summit was coming up, and it’s one of my favorite times of the year. So let me tell you why. The Dargon Summit is our annual gathering of Project writers; it’s a writing and administrative retreat where we not only talk about the business of running the Project, but work on new story arcs, challenge stories, current works, do a plethora of research, and occasionally learn a thing or two. This year’s was no different.
We gathered in a rented house in the scenic Deep Creek Lake area of western Maryland. The location was central to the authors who had committed to attend, so we all had the opportunity to drive through the region prior to, and after the Summit. You might think that a single home with four authors, a spouse, and two stragglers might be a bit crowded, but the rental house was pretty big, with ample space for everyone. We covered a lot of administrative details that I won’t bore you with here, but we also discussed a few writing tricks and tips I’d gathered from various sources around the ‘verse. I promised the folks who allowed me to use those resources that I’d cite them here, so I want to do that now.
From Chuck Wendig at terribleminds.com, I used “25 Things to Know About Your Story’s Stakes.” This is a great read with respect to character motivation, for main characters and minor characters alike. From Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys at rhyscorhys.com, I leveraged his “Simple Anatomy of a Plot Outline.” Both of these are excellent tools to use and keep in mind when you’re writing, or just planning to write. Finally, for a bit of fun, I added in “16 Fancy Literary Techniques Explained by Disney,” which I acquired through buzzfeed.com, and was posted by Adam Moerder. To be honest, I never received a reply from buzzfeed when I was asked to use their material, but I associate silence with acceptance in this regard, and am citing them here with the other two, just for good measure.
Along with this, we had a Google+ hangout going so that two or three other authors could join us remotely, which worked at a fair capacity, but didn’t truly emulate the experience of being at the Summit. There is too much fun going on in the background, or after the hangouts, during the wee hours of the night, the morning breakfasts, the horseback riding … honestly, nothing can replace actually being *at* Summit.
I always leave Summit with a feeling of great personal satisfaction. Seeing my compatriots in the shared world that is Dargon, being able to talk face-to-face, play games, have fun, and share the time together creates a bonding experience that has become one of the cements that holds this Project together. This year, we only had four attendees, but we accomplished a great deal. My goal for next year is to have six or eight, and start expanding our activities again.
Until that time, there’s plenty of reading for you to do. We have a great queue of completed or near-completed drafts ready to go, and we’ll probably be putting out extra issues this year and next! For this issue, we present two stories from Dafydd Cyhoeddwr and James Neale. Dafydd brings us part 5 of his continuing saga, Ol Tamboch Narhin, and James gets his first published story ever in DargonZine: Shadows of Dargon!