Originally, The Edge of Propinquity was going to be a game setting for an online game I wanted to run. That proved to be too time consuming for both my players and myself. However, I had done a lot of world creation for Kendrick and was not willing to give it up. Then it came to me, why not have my own webzine?
Well, there are many reasons on why not and many reasons on why to.
I had the website setup already. fullcontactmuse had given me space and the infrastructure for the website already. When I shifted to the idea of a hosted webzine, he was happy to continue providing the service. With the most basic foundation of a webzine – its host – taken care of, I had the opportunity to sit back and think about what I wanted for the webzine. It came down to three things: Universe stories, appropriate images for those stories and guest author stories.
Universe Stories – This was the big one. I had a setting - The setting is a modern day story focusing on a character deep within the hidden world that surrounds mundane society. I wanted to tell stories about what could be going on around us at any given time. I wanted several overall arcing storylines that people could come back to and enjoy. But, at the same time, I wanted to set yearly "Themes" that all of the stories would encompass. A secondary thread that would bring together all of the stories of the webzine in an underlying cohesiveness. For that, I had to find the right authors.
Appropriate Images – The next thing I decided I wanted was images for each story but rather than having drawn images, I wanted black and white photography. Each photograph had to fit the story it would be assigned to. For that, I had to find the right photographers. Fortunately for me, I had a photographer right here (fullcontactmuse) and the rest of my authors either took the images for their stories themselves or had photographer friends willing to help out.
Guest Author Stories – The final thing I wanted was the opportunity to showcase a guest author each month. I will tell you that this thought was not completely altruistic and solely for the love of reading. I wanted to be able to advertise my webzine all over. I wanted people I didn't know to bring people in to read their stories and I wanted the opportunity to see if some of my other author friends would be willing to write for me.
The difference between editing and an anthology is both huge and not. It is the same in the fact that you are looking for quality stories that meet your guideline with excellent technical writing. That's all any editor wants. Read the guidelines, write a good story and be technically proficient. The same is true for an anthology and for an ongoing webzine.
The differences come in when you are producing a webzine every month. You have more work to do in an immediate fashion and you must have an excellent memory for details and consistency. With the Universe authors, my biggest pet peeve is getting them to remember to send me their story in a particular format and on time. The more out of format it is, the more work I have to do and the later the story is, the grumpier I get. Some of my authors have seen a very unpleasant side to me when their stories are late and not formatted as requested.
Also with Universe stories, you need to remember who is doing what in which story. You need to be able to help direct your authors when they say, "I'm not sure what to do here" or to point out when something doesn't make sense or is falling flat. You also have to remember how they write their stories and make sure they remain consistent over a period of at least 12 months (the minimum stint for a TEoP author). Finally, you need to be able to critique in a constructive manner when the storyline is slipping.
As for Guest Author stories, there is the reading of the slushpile (which is something I believe ALL authors should do at least once in their lifetime), choosing of the story, sending out the contracts, getting all of the appropriate information and headshots from the guest author and paying them once the story is published.
Choosing the story is the hardest part of this. In TEoP, all manner of beasties can exist. However, I try very hard not to have more than 1, maybe 2, stories of the same type of beastie in a single year. So, if I already have a werewolf story, another werewolf story is already at a disadvantage unless it is told in a completely different manner. For example, in 2008, I allowed two vampire stories in. One was told first person perspective from the vampire. One was told in third person narrative from the mortal hunting the vampire. They were both the same type of beastie but two very different stories.
The final difference between editing a webzine and an anthology is the fact that webzines come out once a month in softcopy and the anthology will come out only once in hardcopy. Each has a different sense of gratification that it meets. Webzines are more immediate and keep on going. Anthologies are long term but when they are over, they are over.