One Editor's Views

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Title: One Editor's Views
Creator: Doreen DaBinett
Date(s): February 1983
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Topic:
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One Editor's Views is a 1983 essay by Doreen DaBinett.

It was printed in Communicator #10.

The topic was editing zines (with an emphasis on the K/S zine Duet), and what DaBinett looked for in a good K/S story.

Some context: while DaBinett does not specifically mention the controversial Loveslaves (a story she turned down for her own zine), it was certainly a topic on many fans' minds.

Similar Essays

From the Essay

First and foremost my criteria is simple. Do I like it? Once I have decided that I can then look further into the work, to see if it parallels aired-trek, Mirror Mirror or is a different Universe altogether. Obviously in the first two instances we all know how the characters will react to various situations, but in a completely different Universe, one that the writer herself has created, a certain leeway can be allowed...

However, unlike general stories, a K/S one can, by its very nature, centre around a purely psychological situation, or delve deeply into one particular aspect of their characters or relationship. It does not necessarily have to have an adventure type plot. Although equally, some good K/S stories do have a strong adventure element in them - combining the best of both worlds.

Then I look for anomalies and inconsistencies in the plot, and very important indeed, does the story flow - there are few things more off-putting to most readers than a 'clipped' style of writing; almost as if one is giving a resume of a story and not telling one in its entirety.

Most important perhaps of all, is the story itself new and fresh? Occasionally it is permissible to print a story that has been told before, if someone has written it with a whole new slant - as we have seen so often with the various episodes. Sometimes a story is submitted to me, and I find that the writer has quite innocently written the type of story that has honestly 'been done to death'. This often happens because the writer, her or herself has not road many K/S-zines, mainly because most come from the States, are are extremely expensive, and many folk over here [in the UK] are not prepared to put up with the interminable delays that seem to beset so many US editors. I'm afraid we British are very very spoilt in this respect, and it comes as quite a shock to find that a delay of sometimes 6, 12 or even 18 months, between the promised delivery date and the actual delivery date is accepted as the norm in the States - I myself have been waiting over 2 years now for one zine, of which there is still no sign, and has been paid for all this time. [1]

On tho other hand, it sometimes happens that a writer has perhaps read, too many zines, and writes a story, again quite innocently believing it to be her or his own idea, when in actual fact it is perhaps a theme that she 'read' some time back and it simply did not register with her when she wrote it that it was someone else's idea originally.

The hardest task of all for me is having to turn down a submission. If it is a death one, then of course it is fairly easy. I can just explain that I do not print that type, and can give the name of an Editor who does, and who I feel will accept her work. If it is not suitable for any number of other reasons, then I do try to bo constructive, and if I feel the story has promise I will send it back for a rewrite, sometimes again and again, till we get it right. Believe me, there are very -very few writers who are good enough not to have to do rewrites - in fact I can count them on one hand. So it is not a slight on your work to be asked to change something, and of course if you disagree you can always submit it elsewhere. But in the final analysis, at the end of the day, it must be up to the editor to decide whether she will print your story or not; that after all is her prerogative, because she does most of the donkey work; and if the zine is not up to standard, and the stories are bad, she is the one who takes all the flak!

I am not myself a hard line Editor (as some, I understand, are), and do like to allow writers to tell tho story as they see it. After all, it is individual style and presentation that makes each story so very different, and a delight to read. I have unfortunately read some zines myself where the Editor's pen has been so busy that the individuality is lost completely, and one is left with the impression that each story - whilst good - has been written by the same author. What a pity it is when this happens.

I have even heard the phrase used 'you Editors seem to think you know it all'. Well, I can't answer for everyone of course, and I myself do know of some folk who have brought out one or two zines and perhaps do feel this way. I began with my zines in 1979 since then I have brought out and edited 20 zines "both general, and K/S and I have learnt a great deal - BUT even how I am still learning, and I'll doubtless go on doing so.

Finally, bringing out zines to me is a hobby. I get pleasure and joy when I see a completed work and know that I quite literally 'put it together', but it is also the result of everyone's effort too, writers, poets, artists and typists, it is a zine put out by fans for fans, and it is not, and was never meant to be, a professional publication. There, is only one thing as an Editor that really annoys me, and that is, unfair criticism, not of the zine as a whole, but of an individual person. I have had some letters that say: "I dislike that writer's work intensely, why do you bother to print her work?" and "My God that girl can't draw a straight line, I'd rather see no illos than ones drawn by her"....this really makes me blazing mad. These are fans they are talking about, fans who have sometimes spent many hours of their free time trying to express in their way their love of ST and to bring some pleasure to others. This is what fandom and zines are all about, a platform for everyone...because most work has something to merit it, and so often these critics are the ones who do nothing themselves to entertain others. How very unfair! Of course beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, and we can't all expect to like the same artwork. I personally can't stand Picasso and wouldn't even put his work in my toilet, but that does not mean to say he is not good and is not loved by others, and I wouldn't dream of saying that Art Galleries should not display his work.'

I think it is necessary to remember at all times that a zine is a combination of stories, poems, and illos from a large number of folk - some you will like, some you will not, and because you personally do not like something, does not mean that no one else will. In fact, if this were not true we wouldn't have so many different zines around catering for all tastes, whether it is general, Mary-Sue, K/S, Death, or all poetry/prose. Someone will love it, and at least this way we do all have a choice. Star Trek would soon die if people stopped writing or drawing. Zines are what bring us altogether as one family, zines are where we are able to express our own particular feelings about the characters and are able to share them with others. So please, there must be so much untapped talent out there, just waiting to shine. Why not have a go yourselves instead of sitting and saying "Hell, can do better than that." - Why don't you? There's sure to be a zine somewhere that is just for you. If not - start one yourself!

In conclusion, I know there are some folk around who say that K/S zines should not be printed...I wonder if these same folk wear an IDIC around their necks and ever stop to think what that symbol is supposed to mean? Also, they might care to hear my own favourite quotation:

"If it's love, the Lord won't mind
There's enough hate in this World already."

I think that says it all.

References

  1. This long-awaited zine is very likely Naked Times #4/5 part 2, a zine that made many fans angry due to the multi-year delays.