New entry May 06
Critters is 25!
This November, Critters is 25 years old! Wow! Thanks so much to all of you, who've made it such a resounding success!
Books from Critters!
Check out Books by Critters for books by your fellow Critterfolk, as well as my list of recommended books for writers.
The Sigil TrilogyIf you're looking for an amazing, WOW! science fiction story, check out THE SIGIL TRILOGY. This is — literally — one of the best science fiction novels I've ever read.
Space Travel for SF Writers
Hot off the presses from ReAnimus Press! Space Travel - A Science Fiction Writer's Guide— An indispensible tool for all SF writers that explains the science you need to help you make your fiction plausible. (Also via Amazon)
I was interviewed live on public radio for Critters' birthday, for those who want to listen.
Free Web Sites
Free web sites for authors (and others) are available at www.nyx.net.
ReAnimus Acquires Advent!
ReAnimus Press is pleased to announce the acquisition of the legendary Advent Publishers! Advent is now a subsidiary of ReAnimus Press, and we will continue to publish Advent's titles under the Advent name. Advent was founded in 1956 by Earl Kemp and others, and has published the likes of James Blish, Hal Clement, Robert Heinlein, Damon Knight, E.E. "Doc" Smith, and many others. Advent's high quality titles have won and been finalists for several Hugo Awards, such as The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy and Heinlein's Children. Watch this space for ebook and print editions of all of Advent's current titles!
THE SIGIL TRILOGY: The universe is dying from within... "Great stuff... Really enjoyed it." — SFWA Grandmaster Michael Moorcock
Announcing ReAnimus Press
If you're looking for great stuff to read from bestselling and award-winning authors—look no further! ReAnimus Press was founded by your very own Critter Captain. (And with a 12% Affiliate program.) [More]
Critters Format Tips Your goal is to get a file to me that looks just like these instructions. The simplest approach is to just upload your word .DOC/.DOCX file into the submission form at www.critique.org/c/submit.php . That will automatically convert the file. The info below is if you want to do it manually. I *strongly* recommend you work on a COPY of your ms., in case anything goes wrong and you mangle it. (Or make a good backup, etc.) First, here are some instructions for the most commonly used word processors (mailer info follows): For Microsoft Word: - Again, it's much better to upload your .doc/docx file directly! But if not... - Use these settings (on a COPY of your manuscript): Font = Courier New (or any font that says "Courier" in it) Font Size = 12pt Left/right margins = .65" Justification = left Paragraph Indent = First Line .5" Paragraph Style = No spacing (This might be a Word specific thing) - Make sure the font is set for Courier 12pt; this is **ESSENTIAL** - Mark all underlined/italicized passages with underscores _like so_ (otherwise the system has no way of knowing what's italicized) - If you have "smart quotes" on, you may wish to disable them. They should get automatically converted, though you may get a warning back from the system that they may not look right. - If you have any non-ascii characters (like multinational ones -- such as vowels with accents, umlauts, etc.) I'd expand them out like resume' or 'ue' for German's u-with-umlaut, etc.; and you should use "--" instead of an "em-dash" character if you notice your em-dashes get lost. - Set your line spacing to single spaced - Do File/SaveAs, enter a filename ending in ".txt", select a type "Plain text" (possibly called "Plain text with layout", or "MS-DOS text with layout" in some Word versions). (In some versions of Word this may be called Export.) - save it on out - Check the whatever.TXT with Notepad to see if all paragraphs are now on one long line (one line per paragraph). It helps if the paragraphs are indented with 3-5 spaces at the start of each paragraph (not having this is only a problem if you have a lot of short paragraphs [e.g. poetry], in which case the system might think it can't tell where your paragraphs start/end). I don't use Microsoft Works at all, and it can't entirely do things right, but try something like this: - Mark all underlined/italicized passages with underscores _like so_ - I don't know if Works has smart quotes, but if it does, and you have them turned on, you may get a warning back from me that they may not look right to everyone; and if you have any non-ascii characters (like multinational ones -- vowels with accents, umlauts, etc.) I'd expand them out like resume' or 'ue' for German's u-with-umlaut, etc.; and you should use "--" instead of an "em-dash" character or your dashes will be lost - Set your line spacing to single spaced - Do File/SaveAs, enter a filename ending in ".txt", select a type of "Text" (In some versions of Word this may be called Export.) - save it on out - Check the whatever.TXT file to see if it looks basically ok. Note that Works doesn't actually format the file entirely correctly, per Critters format rules. What this means is that when you send it to me, you'll get a note back about having "long lines" and then your manuscript will get automatically reformatted into Critters standard; it will place one blank line between paragraphs and paragraph indents will be lost. Sorry, but Works just doesn't know how to save things out like Word and WordPerfect do. Wordperfect generally does a better job of saving to ascii. I use WP6.0 for windows, and in it, what I do is this: - Make sure the font is set for Courier 12pt; this is **ESSENTIAL** - Mark all underlined/italicized passages with underscores _like so_ - If you have "smart quotes" on, you may get a warning back from me that they may not look right to everyone; and if you have any non-ascii characters (like multinational ones -- vowels with accents, umlauts, etc.) I'd expand them out like resume' or 'ue' for German's u-with-umlaut, etc.; and you should use "--" instead of an "em-dash" character or your dashes will be lost - Do File/SaveAs, enter a filename ending in ".txt", select "Save File as Type" of "ASCII (DOS) Text (*.*)" [The "*.*" isn't relevant"] - "OK" to save it on out - Check the whatever.TXT file to see if it looks ok -- specifically, check for paragraphs indented ok, lines not too long; in short, it should look like the mss. you get in email from me. After you've saved it out, look at it (with a text-only reading program, like the MS-DOS "more < whatever.txt" command or windows Notepad) -- it should look like what you're reading here (or with one paragraph per line). You should not see any funky characters like smiley faces, triangles, etc. You should not see any '=' signs. You should either see nicely indented paragraphs and/or a blank line between paragraphs. Manuscripts that arrive with no way to identify paragraph boundaries (i.e., without either being one line per paragraph, or having paragraph indents, or having a blank line between them) WILL BE REJECTED. You should not see really long lines that hit the end of the screen and get broken with one or two words on some lines like this one in this sentence that I'm making really long so you can see what I mean. (The usual cause of this is having your font set to Times Roman instead of Courier or not using 12pt for your Courier.) You should see SOME obvious (to software) way of knowing where each paragraph begins. This is the most important factor, and the #1 reason for files to get rejected. If it looks like this: This is the start of paragraph number 1 and it continues on this line, and now ends here. And this is the start of paragraph number 2 which continues on this line, and there is nothing that clearly marks the boundary, then you're in trouble. Even if some paragraphs end in short lines like the one above, that's not sufficient, since as you can see, you can't really tell where the dividing line above is between paragraph 1 and 2. :) Don't submit a file like this, it will get rejected since readers won't know where your paragraphs are. One alternative method is to copy&paste the ms. into email: Use the mouse to highlight the whole ms. in your word processor (or there may be a menu option under "file" or "edit" called "select all"). Then do a "copy" (usually control-C in the DOS world; or an option under "edit"). Move to your mail program, and do a "paste" (control-V; or under "edit"). This method may create Really Long Lines, however, so send me a test first. (If it does, those will be auto-reformatted as described above for "Works".) If you're unsure, send me a test message and ask if it arrived in an acceptable format. (However, don't assume that I'll check formats on genuine submissions; chances are I won't.) Mailers -- check out www.critters.org/mailers.html for info on how to set your mailer to only send plain text, not HTML and not HTML + plain text.