Getting into writing – an interview with StronglyOPlatypus, Editor-in-Chief of Worldbuilding Magazine

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I’m StronglyOPlatypus, the Editor-in-Chief of Worldbuilding Magazine. We’re an online publication dedicated to providing quality, informative articles and stories surrounding the topic of creating worlds. Our team of volunteers ensures each of our bimonthly issues is filled with edited, illustrated, and educational content. More information and all of the magazine’s past issues can be found for free at worldbuildingmagazine.com

Why did you start your publication?

Our founder and former Editor-in-Chief, uNoahGuy, initially had the idea after some discussion on a Reddit thread in which he proposed building fictional worlds as a teaching tool. The thought of a magazine about our hobby caught the attention of myself and the other initial staff, and soon enough we began work on our first issue. Since then, the magazine has only grown and gathered even more passionate editors, writers, and artists and a community of readers.

What is the most gratifying element of publishing the written word?

It would probably be seeing an idea blossom from a little thought, to a first draft, to a source of stress for editors, to a final, finished piece. That, or the community. Being exposed to so many other creative people and learning from them has improved my writing more than I can measure.

What are your happiest memories in your writing/publishing career?

The “we did it” feeling after every issue is released is amazing. It’s like a scheduled burst of collective accomplishment. My personal happiest memory would have to be that feeling after the very first issue. It wasn’t as long or as polished as our most recent ones, but the fact that a group of strangers could come together and make something like this through nothing but sheer force of will was very inspiring.

How do you handle success and failure?

Thanks to a lot of receptive readers and a passionate staff, we’ve had a lot more success than failure. However, there are occasional setbacks and ongoing problems we have to address. Sometimes an editor becomes unavailable, other times we have to release later than planned in order to give the layout team enough time to, well, do all the layout. It comes with the territory of being volunteer-based and free. So, we like to hold meetings among the administration where we identify what we’re doing right and what we could improve, then make changes if necessary.

What makes you write when you’re exhausted and your fingers ache?

We have a team of writers and editors, so thankfully when somebody needs to take a step back we usually have somebody else to fill that space. However, what keeps me going is that aforementioned “we did it” moment where we can finally share this completed magazine with everybody. There are a lot of people working on every one and it’s easy to work hard for them. Plus, being able to see every step of the process and knowing what my work is contributing to the greater whole makes it a lot easier to complete a task, as opposed to writing without a deadline or finished product in sight.

What is your advice to young and new writers?

I actually didn’t write all that much before joining the magazine. Worldbuilding Magazine awakened my love of writing, and having access to a community of editors and writers helped me hone that skill. So, my advice for amateur writers is this: find a project, find a community, and write.

First, the project. It doesn’t matter what you’re working on, but have something you want to accomplish. Maybe look for a writing contest, or a prompt. I find that moderately long short stories are good for new writers. I’m biased, but this magazine is a great resource for new sci-fi/fantasy writers to find inspiration and advice on how to write whatever it is they want to create.

Next, the community. There are plenty of writing groups out there (speculative fiction and fantasy writers can look to our Discord, Inkblood Writer’s Guild, or r/FantasyWorldbuilding), filled with people like you who are eager to tell you about their work and willing to listen to you speak about yours. Even better if you can help edit someone else’s work and get someone to edit yours.

Finally and most importantly, just write. Get some words on paper. Fantasizing about writing a novel, getting published, finishing your project and all that is great, but it’s never going to happen if you don’t put the work into it. And if you finish a short story or article within the domain of fictional worlds, and you’re proud enough of it to submit it to us, we just might put it in an issue of the magazine!

Are you a traditionalist or a digital? (paper or eBook)

We are a fully digital magazine for the time being. All of our issues are available as PDFs.

Do you blog?

Just about everything we create goes into the magazines, but we are planning some blog content so you should expect to see more of that from us.

Do you self-publish?

Yes, in the sense that we post the finished products online. Formal publishing is something to consider one day, but that’s a ways down the road.

If you have a publication or promotion – tell us.

You can find all of our free digital publications on our website www.worldbuildingmagazine.com. Currently there are no print versions available, though some of our staff and readers have shared with us versions they printed at their local print shops, so you could certainly do that. If so, please come by our Discord server and show us how it came out!

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You can find us at www.worldbuildingmagazine.com, on Discord (https://discord.gg/NwANMCr), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and occasionally, Reddit.

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