So, round about this time every year, I have an Editorial that covers the annual Dargon Summit. This year is no different. That being said, I don’t want to bore you with the same old, same old. Is it one of the great bonding experiences of being a Dargon author? Yes. Had attendance (sadly) dropped off? Yes. Am I eager to get more folks wrapped into next year’s Summit? Of course. I even have a few folks who are tentatively committing ahead of time for next year, so that’s a positive.
The real thing I want to talk about, though, aside from the awesome time I had – visiting Edgar Allen Poe’s grave, hanging out at the Baltimore harbor, touring the Naval Academy in Annapolis, going on a ghost tour in Annapolis – is the work benefit I get from Summit. To say it’s always productive is an understatement: it’s literally the most prolific 4-day period ever year for the Dargon Project (assuming Dafydd doesn’t go on a sleep deprivation writing burn). Virtually every attendee gets more done in that short period than any other period of the year; or, as has often happened, they are kick started into work that becomes their major project(s) for the year.
I know Liam got a lot done, writing wise, and was able to work through a writing block he was having. Personally, I was able to get through a massive block, entirely due to the fact that I was able to talk out the plot, ideas, and development needs of the story I’ve been trying to write, but couldn’t get started. The real question that should be on your mind, if you’re not familiar with distributed collaborative projects, is why is it so productive?
In a word: proximity. It’s one thing to be part of a collaborative writing project where the authors are all spread out throughout the country, or indeed the world. It’s entirely another to put us all in a single location for a long weekend. It’s ridiculous. There’s always the initial avoiding of talking about writing, which is odd. There’s the procrastination that we all go through, because why the heck would a bunch of writers getting together want to talk about writing? Right? But when the resistance finally cracks – with a near audible, ice-on-a-lake crashing – the creativity starts to flow. And suddenly, irresistibly, things get done.
It’s electric. It’s wonderful. And there is simply no substitute for attending Summit. If there are any Dargon authors reading this in later years, thinking about whether or not to attend Summit, wondering if the social chemistry will work out, contemplating the idea that they could just as well stay home … you’re wrong. Come to Summit. I can only begin to relate the positive things that have happened, Dargon-wise and productivity-wise, at the various Summits. You have to attend to truly understand.
I’ll leave off with that thought, and introduce the two stories coming in this issue. Keith English brings us the second half of his two-part Cursed story, and Jim Owens brings us a new part of his ongoing Nessis Roman thread, Nessis Roman Gets a Date. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as we do.