Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Critters Writing Workshop Props

Because I don't want to give the impression that I'm running down Critters Online Workshop....

I was asked if I thought it was worth joining: YES.

Some of the advantages.
*A broad spectrum of writers (and readers). Beginners to pros; hard SF types to epic fantasy to horror. With horror being the least represented, but still present.

*A resource for those of us who don't play well with others (in person). I.e., critiques via email can provide an emotional distance. Even if a critique pisses you off--if you're a grownup--you can put it aside and let it simmer. Chances are you'll find something of worth in the comments. If not, no big deal. It's not as though you've made any sort of commitment to exchange more critiques with that person.

*The ability to create a "shit list." Okay, this is my invention. I've found something of value in all my critiques save for three. I remember those peoples' names; if I get a critique from them, I simply hit Delete. They still get credit; I avoid further aggravation. Easy-peasy.

*In time, you do make some critique "acquaintances." These are folks who repeat your stories repeatedly and vice versa.

*Gives you an interesting insight into what the average editor deals with when reading slush. (Empathy for editors.)

*Because of the variety of readers/writers, I sometimes use Critters as a means of determining "audience."

*Very well-automated. Easy to submit manuscripts and critiques.

*Numbers vary, but my submissions typically get the 20-plus average critiques. Honestly, anything above 15 starts to get wearying.

The broad spectrum means critiques of wildly fluctuating quality. Hard SF-ers that just don't "get" contemporary fantasy, for example. Critique-by-the-numbers type who seem to run off a list of rules: "No 'ly' words."

The inability to read the critiquer's reactions as you might in person. Frankly, I think disagreements are just as likely in person, especially if you're working with the wrong person...but...some prefer the personal touch.

And, yeah, sometimes the endless procession of the same old mistakes (hubris, much?), story-after-story is tiring. Hence, my snotty diary a few posts back.
Anyway, if you're a writer of science fiction (Sc-fi, sci-fi, sci-fi), fantasy or horror, give Critters a try.

Actually cranked out two critiques yesterday. Cheated and went with names I recognized. But...two, nonetheless.

1000 words on Book Two, me thinks. Jumping around from place to place in manuscript. Lost count.

Happy Weekend,

Pat Kirby


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