New entry May 06
Critters is 25!
Last November, Critters turned 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.
New Book from a Critter Member**NOW IN PRINT EDITION TOO!** Awesome new book, HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SPECULATIVE FICTION OPENINGS, from a Critter member who's unearthed a shard of The Secret to becoming a pro writer. Really good piece of work. "...if you're at all concerned about story openings, you'd be nuts not to read what Qualkinbush has to say." —Wil McCarthy, author of BLOOM and THE COLLAPSIUM
How to Write SF
The Craft of Writing Science Fiction that Sells by Ben Bova, best-selling author and six-time Hugo Award winner for Best Editor. (This is one of the books your ol' Critter Captain learned from himself, and I highly recommend it.) (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]
Formatting for Critters
Please follow these guidelines when submitting manuscripts to Critters for critiquing. Failing to do so may result in either your ms. being rejected until it meets them -- or suffering the email wrath of Critter readers who have to struggle with it. And yes, people will rag on you for failing to meet these most minimal of criteria!
Some tips for how to meet these (actually very simple) guidelines are at the bottom.
- Headers: Please send me the header details as found
in the rules. This allows me to automatically
file new submissions. Failure to include these will get your ms. bounced
back to you. (Also, don't bother including your postal address, as I'll
- Format: plain text (aka "ASCII" or "DOS" text).
Tips how to accomplish this are
and here is info
on how to set various mail programs to send it out right.
[No "Rich Text Format", no word processor files, no HTML, just
ordinary, boring, plain text.]
I strongly prefer the text in the
message itself (not encoded as an attachment); if it arrives encoded
somehow, you'll get the manuscript bounced back.
- Line width: 70 characters per line. No more. Wrap words, do not
truncate lines in the middle of a word. Do not use "right justify," use
"ragged right" margins.
[This is so it will be easily readable on both a terminal screen and on
the web page, which is often narrower than a terminal screen.]
- Spacing: Single space. [With the one exception noted below about paragraphs. Double spacing is hard to read on-line.]
- Paragraphs: Either indent each paragraph five spaces (no less, and no more
than ten) -or- use a blank line (double space) between paragraphs
with no indent. (Without clear paragraph indicators, it ends up as a giant lump and, history shows, nearly nobody will read it.)
- Underlining/Bolding: The common net convention is to use
_underscores for italics_ and *asterisks for bolding*, like so. If you
have a whole paragraph to emphasize, just insert a note like: [start italics]
... paragraph(s) ... [end italics]
- Proofreading: Yes! Do it! Your submission to Critters should be
proofread just as if you were submitting to Asimov's, F&SF, Analog, etc.
Proofread for both typos and grammos. Some tiny number of mistakes is
ok, but sloppy work will earn you a bunch of nasty critiques. Critters are here
to critique your work, not proofread it. Many members will either
ignore your manuscript (if they're feeling kind) or flame you badly. Beware!
- Page numbering: None. Just text, text, text. [Page numbers, headers,
etc. are just confusing when seen on a screen.]
- Genre: Identify in your email to me what genre (SF/F/H/M/T/....) your ms. is.
For that you'll want to consult
the master list of genre codes.
If you don't pick a valid one, the minions will choke and probably randomly pick one without reading it. :-) [You don't
have to be perfect on your designation -- there's no hard rule about what
distinguishes SF from F from H, so just take a stab at it;
see the FAQ for some tips on picking a genre.
But I need
such a designation since it determines who receives your ms. You can pick
only one, not "SF/F".] The only other genre-related content note
would be to bear in mind that Critters does have a few minors as members.
Given that, and the CDA (Communications Decency Act) in general, please
do not submit pornographic/erotic material (nothing worse than you'd
find in Asimov's, Analog, F&SF, etc.).
- Kind of Critique: At the front. If you want a specific kind of critique,
such as focusing on characterization, or plot, or internal logic, etc., say
so in a note at the front.
- Other Author's Notes: At the end. [Some people like to read the
story before seeing your comments, such as what you think is wrong with it,
etc. I always put a note at the top saying your notes are, if any, found at
the end -- so please put them there to save me the hassle of moving them.]
- Email: Send your ms. as the only data in the email message -- i.e.,
don't send it with any critiques. One manuscript per email, and one email
per manuscript (check with me first before splitting a submission into
multiple email messages). I have commands to file messages, and
doubling up makes more work for me (and makes me very grumpy).
Subject: of "submission" is helpful. You can
submit your ms. text file via the web page that is linked on the
manuscripts page (the one behind the password page).
- One critique per email message
(send to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Or use the
web form to submit critiques.
- Put the manuscript number in the email Subject: header as "#99" or whatever
number it is (with the "#").
- Edit out -- delete -- as much of the original manuscript as you can; if you
want to comment on a certain passage, remove all the text up to that point.
Leave only minimal context. (Some people like to print these, and don't
want N copies of the story -- wastes paper, and makes the comments hard to
find.) Mark the author's text with ">" in front of their lines, and
add your comments below, per standard Internet email reply format, namely:
> Tracy hesistated. > "I don't think so." [author's original text] Sorry, Pat, this line didn't work for me. [critter's comments about it]
- Remember to be tactful. Critique the story, not the author. If you
want to shred something, be polite about it. Mention the good and the bad.
Suggest alternatives for the bad. Be as specific in your comments as you can.
See these articles for more on Critters diplomacy.
- Same plain/ASCII/DOS text and 70 character line width as described above for manuscripts under "Format" and "Line width". If you're having trouble saving out in the right format or getting it to me, you should send your critiques via this web page.