Critters is 15 today!
Nov 22, 2010 [permalink]
It boggles my mind, but it was 15 years ago to the day, Weds., Nov. 22, 1995, that Critters saw first light. I certainly wasn't imagining what things would be like in 2010 back then. (Ok, well, that isn't exactly true: I didn't peg a specific date to it, but I thought we'd have thin TV screens that hung on the wall and computer systems that monitored all communications for anti-terrorism reasons... Or maybe that's in the future yet.) :)
I never thought we'd have grown to over 10,000 members, have critiqued almost 20,000 manuscripts, in almost 300,000 critiques, and covering 150 million words of critique material. You've all been busy!
One thing that's remained constant throughout has been the character of the members: You all have impressed me, time and time again, almost without fail, as some of the nicest, friendliest, most decent people on earth. Perhaps that goes with the territory of being willing to write in-depth critiques of other people's work (despite the generally hidden side effect that doing so helps you improve your craft). :) I can't help but think this has had a rippling effect throughout other online workshops, that diplomacy is a necessary component.
(I know when I stop by other online workshops I do see a general tendency to promote tact, which I never saw back in the day. Simon Cowell-style critiques were far more common, since they were seen as acceptable and done by often well-known crabby science fiction writers. I'm glad to see that go — I found quickly that such critiques didn't do anything for the recipient unless they _were_ from someone of such stature that they could bless your career; a rare breed, that. And even then, why? What's the point of being harsh, when courteous honest can convey the same message? I know certain authors believe they're doing a service by deterring people from writing, though I definitely don't agree. Call me a market-based guy: The more competition in writing the more high qualitty material there will be. Let others judge the quality — discouraging people from writing may prevent them from creating an enduring masterpiece, and there's no harm done to the world if others shoot for the moon. But I digress.)
Anyway, a decade and a half later, I'm tickled beyond belief to see how well Critterfolk are doing. It's exceeded my widlest imagination of success, and it's you all who've made it that way.
I hope the next 15 can see as much success, both in speculative fiction and as we all venture into the unknown of workshops for other genres.
So Happy Birthday to the workshop, and three cheers for all of you!