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Ahoy, Critterfolk!
New entry Nov 01

Critter Notices

Critters is 21!

Yes, 21 years ago Critters was born. 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 Trilogy

If 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.

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)

P&E Seeks New Caretaker

Unfortunately, much of the data on the P&E site has become stale and outdated, and needs a new caretaker with the time required to update the site. The listings are being removed until they can be updated by a new caretaker.

Note that the P&E/Critters Annual Readers Poll will run as usual in January.

If you are interested in taking the reins of P&E, and possess what's needed — at least 20hrs/week to volunteer, excellent investigative skills, in-depth knowledge of the publishing industry, ability to detect scams from not-scams, thick skin, good web site skills, good writing ability — please get in touch. Thanks for your interest!

Interviewed!

I'm being interviewed live on public radio for Critters 20th birthday. For those who want to listen, it's on the 10am (Mountain time) show on Thursday, 11/19/16, on Colorado Public Radio - www.cpr.org has streaming on the site or it's 90.1 FM in the Denver area. [Interview is done, you can listen on the site]

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!

Network speeding up

I'm switching the connection over to a new, shiny 10X faster network because of all the load. There might be bits of downtime as your boxes learn new addresses and things. Should be brief. Let me know of any prolonged outages you see.

Preditors & Editors Changeover

With the very sad passing of Dave Kuzminski, who ran P&E, I've taken over the P&E duties. Lots of what I hope are improvements; check it out at pred-ed.com.

Critters Server is Dying has been Replaced

See important details here in my blog. Let me know if you find anything that isn't working right. (Manuscripts are now available for this week, FYI.)

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 need help making ebooks from manuscripts or print copies—or finding great stuff to read—look no further! An ebook publisher started by your very own Critter Captain. (And with a 12% Affiliate program.) [More]

~~~

MORE NEWS & NOTICES >>

CRITTERS STORE >>

 

FEATURED BOOK

~~~

CRITTERS STORE >>

Weekly Notes


Notes for 28-Jun-2017...

For the benefit of ye olde Critters Funde Drive this week and a new release--

	THE STAR KILLER by Sovereign Falconer - $3.99
		a... novel?

		ReAnimus Press Store: www.ReAnimus.com/1577
		Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B073B3TCZ4/?tag=critters3a-20
		 (available in both ebook and paperback)

	The actors complain the script sounds too real: "A homicidal film director who kills all the actors who audition for him."

	Based in part on assorted facts.  Anyone interested in the back story can find back issues of BACKSTAGE EAST with the original ad for the auditions for the movie THE FINAL CUT. No doubt there are many actors in the New York and New Jersey area who survived their auditions for the actual film THE FINAL CUT who can recount their experiences in actual auditions for that film. No claims are made as to the whereabouts of Sovereign Falconer.


                                   -+-

I had a productive (I think!) interaction with a Crittermember recently that seemed like it might make a useful reminder about the Diplomacy Standard, both what it is and why it is. So -- I had this email from one of the Critterfolk...

> I got a manuscript for critiquing...
> 
> The grammar is bad, the tense is all messed up and confused. Passive voice is everywhere. 
> 
> I don't know if the author ever took an english class.
> 
> The paragraphs run together so that I don't know what I'm reading. There is no sense of place - or time. 
> 
> If I tear into this, it will be cruel but honest. If I critique this piece, it will not be kind, and that isn't the way CRITTERS works. 
> 
> I'm not an english teacher. I'm a writer. And a published one at that. Maybe I should pull out of critters??   HELP!!

I responded...:

Hi, I'd suggest the best path is a middle one... tactfully note what didn't work for you. It's a case of "write for your audience," the maxim that applies to all authors. In this case the audience is another writer. (An audience of one.) I've found after 20+ years of studying it that certain phrasings just aren't heard; they don't communicate effectively (or, really, at all). One might think directness might work, but I've found it simply doesn't convey your information the way you'd like. I think these certain "bad" phrasings tickle the Lizard Brain into action -- which gets upset, goes into fight-or-flight mode, not rational "Yeah, I can fix that and sell this story" mode -- so phrasing to step quietly by the sleeping Lizard Brain is in order. 

Rather than say "the grammar is bad", try something like, "I had a hard time getting into this story because the grammar confused me. The use of tenses wasn't what I'm used to reading, which also got in my way. The extensive use of passive voice made me feel the story plodded along. The paragraphs ran together such that I wasn't sure what I was reading. I felt no sense of place or time." 

(Mostly turning comments phrased as if they were "statements of fact" into "clear opinions of how I felt and reacted while reading". E.g., "There is..." --> "I felt...")

I would definitely not make comments about whether the author took English classes or not. :) That's a critique of the author, not a comment about how the writing made you feel. (They -might- be breaking the rules intentionally, so it's best not to talk about them, just how you felt as a reader. As a dangerous borderline statement someone might say, "I felt as if the author didn't understand the rules of English" but that's still likely to get a negative reaction from the author's Lizard Brain.) You might instead say something like, "I felt like the author was breaking a lot of commonly-taught rules of writing, which got in the way of my understanding and enjoying the story."

Give that a try???

And see the Diplomacy articles for lots more details at

	www.critique.org/c/whathow.ht
	www.critique.org/c/diplomacy.ht
	www.critique.org/c/tinywords.ht
	www.critique.org/c/diplomacy-math.ht

:)

                                   -+-

This week's Most Productive Critter award, for 7 critiques (at time
of judging), averaging almost 600 words each, goes to...

	William Broom

To redeem an MPC, visit:  www.critters.org/usempc.ht

Congratulations!  To everyone else -- Crit early and often!

(For an explanation of the MPC award, see the www.critters.org/award.ht page.)

                                   -+-

Recommended Reading...
One of the best writing books - Secrets from the 6-time Best Editor
Hugo Award Master, Ben Bova: THE CRAFT OF WRITING SCIENCE FICTION THAT SELLS 
http://ReAnimus.com/store?item=1144
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Critters Workshop
----------------------------------------------------------------------

This week we have... [get from http://www.critters.org/private/mss.php ]...
                                                 
     Title                      	Author
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Week of 28-Jun-2017 (Crits due 5-Jul-2017):
 SF  The Last Tree                      [mpc] Steve Donnelly -#26873
 F   The Girl With the World in Her Hair  Fred Obermeyer -#26874
 SF  Pitcher Perfect                    [@] Chet Gottfried -#26875
 SF  Sorry About That                   Dave D'Alessio -#26876
 SF  Immortality                        Henry McFarland -#26877
 SF  The Nosegay                        Brian Koukol -#26878
 F   A Paper Dolls House                Shawn Proctor -#26879
 SF  From the Inbox of Mike Calon _2nd Draft_  Bret Parent -#26880
 F   Genesis of the God Hand: Prologue and Chapter 1  Marcelle D Ward -#26881
 F   The Valley of Gods, Chapter 1      Chris Turner -#26882
 F   The Name of the Beast              William Broom -#26883
 SF  Dogma                              Larry Olsen -#26884
 F   After the Escape                   Annaliese Lemmon -#26885
 H   The House Always Wins              Morgan Broadhead -#26886
 SF  2 <= Induction<= E3 <= Orb         Charles Gull -#26887
 F   The Dreams of Dragons              Z. Z. Ali -#26888
 SF  Age of Sail Query and Synopsis     Robert Beverly -#26889
 H   The Wolf of Dorian Gray - Purgatory of the Werewolf _Book 2_  Brian S. Ference -#26890

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Recommended books on writing:

THE CRAFT OF WRITING AND SELLING SCIENCE FICTION by Ben Bova
	ReAnimus Press Store: http://ReAnimus.com/store?item=1144
	Amazon: http://Amazon.com/dp/B006MAZPEI

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SPECULATIVE FICTION OPENINGS By (Critter member) Robert Qualkinbush
	http://ReAnimus.com/store?item=1184 | http://Amazon.com/dp/B007O272ZI

STAYIN' ALIVE - A WRITER'S GUIDE by three-time SFWA President Norman Spinrad
	How things really work in the art and commerce of publishing
	http://ReAnimus.com/store?item=1179 | http://Amazon.com/dp/B007SIC4I8

EXPERIMENT PERILOUS: THE 'BUG JACK BARRON' PAPERS by Norman Spinrad
	(A 99cent essay on SF and writing)
	http://ReAnimus.com/store?item=1180 | http://Amazon.com/dp/B007MF3MS8
 
Because you might enjoy it... CROWN OF THE SERPENT by ALLEN L. WOLD
Rikard Braeth - think Indiana Jones in space
http://reanimus.com/store/?item=1389
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pieces up for critique in other workshops...

In the lit workshop - http://critique.org/lit :
 L   Holland Confrontation              Rosemary Prawdzik -#26782

In the mystery workshop - http://critique.org/mystery :
 T   Kidnapped                          Wendy E Halloran -#26872

In the nonfiction workshop - http://critique.org/nonfiction :
 NT  The Significance of the Fronting of the Prepositional Phrase in the Text of Genesis 01 01  Rebecca Miller -#26818

In the script workshop - http://critique.org/script :
 SC  Charmaine and the Man from the Long Before  Jerry Sexton -#26691

In the kids workshop - http://critique.org/kids :
 YP  Little Mockingbird is Sick         Diana Aleksandrova -#26855

In the comics workshop - http://critique.org/comics :
 CG  Metropolise, Chapter 1             Carina Mchardy -#26473

In the western workshop - http://critique.org/western :
 W   A Message to Santa Fe, Chap 1-3    Frank Coombs -#25375

In the romance workshop - http://critique.org/romance :
 R   Beauty and the Werebeast           Charmaine Seifts -#26692

In the video workshop - http://critique.org/video :
 VS  The Gallery of Henri Beauchamp     Jay DeTalente -#21424

In the music workshop - http://critique.org/music :
 MP  The Shade Riders and Nocturnal Ned song  Beth Zurkowski -#21675

In the photo workshop - http://critique.org/photo :
 PH  Dry Mud and Cinder Cone            Bill Wight -#19627

In the art workshop - http://critique.org/art :
 AI  The Dark Jester in an Archway      Joy Landa -#25620

In the website workshop - http://critique.org/website :
 WW  Powerscript Website                Ronald Hurst -#22230

In the critters workshop - http://critique.org/critters :
 SF  The Last Tree                      [mpc] Steve Donnelly -#26873
 F   The Girl With the World in Her Hair  Fred Obermeyer -#26874
 SF  Pitcher Perfect                    [@] Chet Gottfried -#26875
 SF  Sorry About That                   Dave D'Alessio -#26876
 SF  Immortality                        Henry McFarland -#26877
 SF  The Nosegay                        Brian Koukol -#26878
 F   A Paper Dolls House                Shawn Proctor -#26879
 SF  From the Inbox of Mike Calon _2nd Draft_  Bret Parent -#26880
 F   Genesis of the God Hand: Prologue and Chapter 1  Marcelle D Ward -#26881
 F   The Valley of Gods, Chapter 1      Chris Turner -#26882
 F   The Name of the Beast              William Broom -#26883
 SF  Dogma                              Larry Olsen -#26884
 F   After the Escape                   Annaliese Lemmon -#26885
 H   The House Always Wins              Morgan Broadhead -#26886
 SF  2 <= Induction<= E3 <= Orb         Charles Gull -#26887
 F   The Dreams of Dragons              Z. Z. Ali -#26888
 SF  Age of Sail Query and Synopsis     Robert Beverly -#26889
 H   The Wolf of Dorian Gray - Purgatory of the Werewolf _Book 2_  Brian S. Ference -#26890
----------------------------------------------------------------------

You might also like... DEATH SLEEP by JERRY SOHL
The hated Dr. Sheridan was brain dead... except he wasn't! A nightmare from a master Twilight Zone author.
http://reanimus.com/store/?item=1175

Standard notes:

HELP:
If you need help with anything, see http://www.critters.org/help -- there
are FAQs and a form to ask questions.

HELPING CRITTERS:
Critters is donation funded & volunteer run, so if you'd like to
help out with our current fund drive or otherwise, please visit
http://www.critters.org/donate.php -- Thanks!!

HOW TO SEND CRITIQUES:
Remember to send the critiques directly to me, critters@critique.org, so
I can forward them to the authors _and_ give you credit for your effort.
Please send only one critique per mail message (makes it easier to
archive).  Please make sure the "#" symbol and manuscript number are in
the email Subject: line, like Subject: #1234.  (Conversely, if you want
ol' Aburt to personally read the message, i.e., it's _not_ a critique,
don't put a "#" in the subject or I won't see it.  Also -- put my current
anti-spam code word in there: see http://www.critters.org/antispam.ht .)

You may also send your critiques via http://www.critters.org/webcrit.ht .

Note that all critiques will be available to everyone to read the next Saturday.

DIPLOMACY:
Remember, authors and critiquers, we're all friends here.  Be polite.  Be
considerate.  Be tactful.  You can say you thought a story was drivel in a
courteous way.  Try to point out the good and the bad; offer alternatives
if you can.  Never, ever, attack the author -- only the story.  Authors:
Remember that some reviewers may lack tact.  Try to be understanding,
but if you get any that you feel are just plain mean-spirited, too short
to be of any use, or too "feel good," let me know and I'll withhold the
reviewer's "credit" for that story and/or cajole them into something
more insightful.  See http://www.critters.org/diplomacy.ht for more...

CRITIQUE LENGTH:
If you want to send a short critique that you know is too short for
credit (200 words or less of your own meaningful content) please put
"NC#" in the Subject (NC=No Credit, like Subject: NC#1234) -and- say
something like "not for credit" inside your critique.  (Remember also that
for MPC purposes, a critique must be 300 words or more.)

CHATTING:
Comments -other- than critiques (such as discussion of the critiques,
or Woohoo! announcements, or chit chat) should be posted to one of the
official Critters discussion forums (See the http://www.critters.org/newsgroups.ht
web page for full info, guidelines, etc.)  Don't post stories or critiques
(mail those to critters@critique.org).

QUOTING:
Please pare the ms. down if critiquing in-line (don't quote the whole ms.!).
Other format rules are at http://www.critters.org/format.ht .

EVERYTHING'S ON THE WEB:
Past reviews are on the web page.  The current week's manuscripts are
also there, as are prior mss. and even some rewrites.  There's a Master
Page Index (site map) with tons of links to common items.

AUTHORS:
Authors for this week -- if you aren't getting email'd critiques from
me (as they come in) within a couple days -- ask me and we can verify
I'm sending them to the correct address.  (Send me a phone# in case I
can't get email to you.)  Check the format of your story ASAP to make sure
it's all there and readable.

EMAIL ISSUES:
If you want to change your email address or preferences (# mss. emailed,
SF/F/H type, or whether you get the huge critique batches at week's end),
point your browser to http://www.critters.org/admin.ht .  Please don't
ask me to do this by hand, it's quite a chore!  (E.g., if you're going
on vacation and want to suspend mail from me -- do this before/after
your trip.)

BACKUP SITE:
If you're unable to reach www.critters.org to get manuscripts, I've set up
an emergency backup site at http://backup.critters.org where you can get the
week's manuscripts (but not much of anything else :-).  Speaking of backups --
don't forget to back up your own manuscripts so you don't lose them!

QUITTING:
If you want to quit or go inactive, drop by http://www.critters.org/admin.ht .

DONATIONS:
Critters is funded by donations, so visit http://www.critters.org/donate.php
if you'd like to help out.

Because you might enjoy it... TIMESHARE: SECOND TIME AROUND by JOSHUA DANN
Timeshare series #2 - John Surrey has to drag a customer back from the Roaring '20s.
http://reanimus.com/store/?item=1518

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