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Ahoy, Critterfolk!
New entry May 28

Critter Notices

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!

Book Recommendation

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 Awards

Most Productive Critter (MPC) Awards

[To use an MPC, go here]

To encourage mo' better critting, I've decided to try a weekly award for the Most Productive Critter.

Executive Summary: Win a free jump-to-head-of-queue pass if you do the "Most" Qualifying Critiques in a week:

    "Qualifying Critique" means...

    • At least 300 WORDS of new critique material to qualify
    • Submitted by TUESDAY (not Wednesday!)
    • A critique of an entry in the queue for this week, and not an RFDR.

    "Most" means...

    • Most in number & longest -- as defined below
    • OR do 10+ Qualifying Critiques for an Instant Winner

There are two ways to earn an MPC award: The first is to earn the highest score in any given week; the second is to do more than a certain number of qualified critiques. Note that these are all within one workshop; credits are not shared between workshops.

Path to glory #1... Earn the highest score in any given week...

Loosely, the winner is the Critter who did "the most" critiquing during the week, defined (still loosely) as lots of lengthy critiques. More specifically, the way I'll judge is this (done by a program, of course): Each critique of 300 or more words is eligible (thus trying to outwit the program with lots of short crits won't work). I'll run the program sometime Tuesday or Wednesday (note emphasis on getting crits in early, since you don't know when I'll run this). For each Critter, the program will multiply the number of eligible critiques by the total number of words in those eligible critiques. Note that this emphasizes number of critiques slightly more than it does total number of words written (but the 300 word cutoff prevents folks from cheating; the average critique is about 450, so 300 is a pretty typical size).

For example, if one Critter sends in four critiques of lengths, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 words, the eligible ones are the 400, 800, and 1600 (2800 words total) and their score will be 3*2800 = 8400. If another critter sent in one critique of 2800 words, their score is 1*2800. Highest score wins.

Path to glory #2... Do more than a certain number of qualified critiques

Sometimes we get folks who have, frankly, knocked the pants off winners from other weeks in terms of productivity and yet still don't win, and I think they deserve to be rewarded. Not to mention there's a certain uncertainty about what it takes to win an MPC -- "How many critiques is someone else doing? I'll feel lousy if I do 12 and someone else does 13," that kind of thing. No worries, mate!--

Anyone who submits MPC-award-qualifying critiques [300 words or more and received before I run the program sometime on Tuesday] on 10 or more of the stories in a given week wins an automatic MPC award. (For double-sized weeks, either 10 in the first week or 15 in both weeks; and for a triple-sized batch, also 20 done over all three weeks or 25 in four weeks. But you can't earn more than two in multi-week batches.)

(And no, the 'regular' winner does not get two MPCs if they're also above ten.) :)

What's the prize?

A free "jump to front of the queue Pass"! Sort of like a "get out of jail free card" in Monopoly. The winner can use the pass any time (but only one use each) to move a ms. to the next week's batch.

Note that dedicated novel reader points DO NOT count toward the MPC award (I don't track weekly reading on those -- and I don't want to!).

I hope this provides an incentive to write more critiques (and add content to those barely-passing 100 word crits). I'll keep an eye on things, and if it seems like this is just encouraging more fluff words, or lengthy recapitulations of plot, or other tricks, I'll amend the scheme or even drop it. (Hey, I've graded over a dozen years of class papers, remember? I'm wise to all that clever stuff. :-) I might consider other prizes, if I think of anything in the Critter spirit. (I considered "a month off", e.g., three free critique points, but that promotes _fewer_ not more crits...)

I'm also thinking about a monthly Most Helpful Critter award voted on by the authors, but no details or programs to handle the work yet, so stay tuned. One step at a time.

Anyway, Crit Early and Often!

[To use an MPC, go here]


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Fundamental to Critters' success is how people deliver criticisms. Start by reading Critiquing the Wild Writer: It's Not What You Say, But How You Say It. and The Diplomatic Critiquer.


Critters has a special program to get whole novels critiqued. Read about it here.


Please follow these guidelines for formatting and submitting manuscripts to Critters.


Critters keeps a queue of manuscripts out or to be sent. See the Queue.


Want to jump to the head of the Critters queue? The Most Productive Critter or MPC is Awarded weekly to encourage mo' better critting. How to win...


General Guidelines & Tips on Avoiding Publishing Scams


Critters has an extensive FAQ to answer your every question.


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