Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In esteemed company

After much nervous fiddling, I today finally joined the online writer's workshop Critters. Critters effectively brings together thousands of speculative fiction writers who wish to have their worked critiqued in exchange for critiquing the works of others.

The main reason Critters spooked me when I first heard of it was a generalized fear of handing my hard work over to complete strangers. Contrarily to this opinion, I regular hand my hard work over to fine gentlemen such as Alex Kane and Nicholas Rose, who were, not so long ago, complete strangers themselves. Still, this thousands-strong Internet-based workshop terrified me. I was certain of only one thing: they wanted my precious.

But lately, I've been producing such obscene amounts of writing that--stalwart allies though Alex, Nick, and my diligent father may be--I've had to come to grips with the fact that my own personal Berlin-Rome-Tokyo axis cannot achieve world domination without Anschluss, puppet-Slovakia, and Vichy France.

I ought not to use such an awful metaphor; but I can't help it. I've been reading The Origins of the Second World War in Europe, by P. M. H. Bell.

This is not to say that I esteem Critters reviewers no greater than Nazi sympathizers; quite the contrary. I've quickly realized that the collaboration known as Critters is no less than that wide-open expanse known as the US of A, and all its manifold industries, peoples, and virtues. Come, Critters: cross the sea. Smash the tyranny of tired tropes, hackneyed stories, poor writing and bad metaphors. Smash it: beside me.

-bn

P.S. I'm really sorry for all those bad metaphors.

5 comments:

  1. LOL! Nice Axis Powers analogy there. (I'm Tokyo, by the way--I call dibs.) I could use a puppet-Slovakia myself.

    I'll have to look into Critters some time. It sounds pretty spiffy.

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  2. Solid. Hurry up and send me that submarine full of gold bullion. I could really use it.

    -bn

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  3. Welcome! You'll like Critters, it's excellent. Just remember that some people are tactless and some don't know what they're talking about, but lots of others are intelligent and helpful. And remember that submitting a story is not asking for validation as a writer but an attempt to improve--meaning don't get too down when people say they didn't like it. It's a tremendous ego boost (or at least an encouragement) when they say they do, but personally I try not to expect it, or I'll just be disappointed.

    My next story (The Weatherman) is due to come out August 18, although it's towards the bottom of the list so it may get bumped to the 25th. Let me know when your first one is supposed to hit, and I'll try to take a look at it.

    Hope you enjoy yourself!

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  4. I hadn't heard of Critters before. Sounds interesting though. I think critiquing other people's work would probably do me good. Let us know how you get on with it ... I might join myself, if I think I've got time.

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  5. Something I'm quickly discovering is that, not only will Critters be helpful to receive critiques of my own work, but critiquing others' writing is helping me notice techniques, styles, and mistakes that compute to a bad story. It's like a twin attack.... of writing.

    -bn

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