Input wanted on how to structure an expanded Critters

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Re: Input wanted on how to structure an expanded Critters

Postby charityjune » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:58 pm

To follow up on what someone said about hyperlinking :

I've always thought it would be great to be able to look up people on critters and see links to all the stories they've written. I know those stories are somewhere in the archives but it's too much of a pain to find them.

When someone has written me several critiques in a row, I'd be tempted to go look at their stories and return the favor;

Also, if I read something I particularly like, I often want to go find the author's other stories and read them, too.


This MIGHT work against the purpose of critters, however, so maybe it's a bad idea. I can think of 2 or 3 ways it might become problematic. Still, I do like the idea, plus that of the discussion board threads for each story that someone else mentioned.
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Re: Input wanted on how to structure an expanded Critters

Postby manlyduckling » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:47 am

I love the idea of expanding. I think the credits should be kept separate unless a way can be found to prevent easy critiques of shorter pieces or artworks in other categories. I have sometimes thought that the credit system could be made slightly more complicated. As it stands, a short story (under 2000? words) gets only half a credit, but that's it. So, the same credit is given for a 2,500 word story as for a 10,000 word story. I would like there to be some way of encouraging critters to critique longer works. If this were in place, the credits could be shared I think.

As for categories, I think they're good. Poetry and drama might be good ideas.
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Re: Input wanted on how to structure an expanded Critters

Postby aburt » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:20 am

Taken me a while to digest what everyone's said upstream, for which I wanted to thank you all.

How I've decided to move forward is to keep the workshops essentially all separate, with Critters remaining exactly as it is. It will just get some siblings under the "Critique.org" brand. I've long had the critique.org domain name and never really done much with it, always intending for it to house these additional workshops.

So these new workshops will all be entirely separate from Critters. They'll operate under the www.critique.org site and each will be a workshop of its own, with its own members, own queue, and no points counting from one toward the other. So there won't be any mixing of new genres into Critters. Critters will remains SF/F/H only, just like it is now, and the Critters "brand" as it were will apply just to the SF/F/H workshop. The others will be, for example, the "Critique.org Mystery Writers Workshop."

I won't add them in all at once, but will start with the ones that appeal to people the most. Toward that end I'm doing a survey at http://critters.org/whatnext.cgi to see what y'all are keenest on.

As for the concern about my time, no need to worry about that. I'm excellent at time management and know what I can handle. Not that long ago I ran a 50,000 user ISP -- in my spare time. Critters has been nothing close to that in terms of time consumption, so no worries folks.

On the other side, I think there's a real value to society to having quality workshops in other areas. Critters has shown that the "Critters" model is a successful one in terms of improving people's craft. In some of the areas I'm looking to expand into I don't believe there are any workshops at all, and in others I hear that the workshops aren't as serious and in-depth as the Critters model. Some exist, but are fee-based, which sort of bugs me, since I think it's important that workshops not keep people out just because of their economic conditions. Art of all kinds can benefit from better artists, not based on their ability to pay. The idea of extending the Critters benefits to mystery writers, romance writers, photographers, songwriters, etc. just seems so cool to me. It may take time to for them to build up, but if it can help those kinds of authors and artists improve like it has in SF, F, & H, that would be awesome!
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Re: Input wanted on how to structure an expanded Critters

Postby crit24823 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:34 am

Hi Abur,

My two cents: whatever you do, don't mix.
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Re: Input wanted on how to structure an expanded Critters

Postby crit24302 » Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:48 am

Looking at the new workshop list, I have some input:

On expanded writing workshops: For writing, Critters is uniquely awesome. I agree with what seems to be the general consensus, that more categories would be handy, but they shouldn't mix too much with the SF/F/H. I think only time will show if there are enough people to make those other categories thrive, but my impression is that there are indeed writers out there who say "Critters sounds good, but I don't write SF/F!" And as a writer who loves SF/F, I don't want them muddying up the queue with, for example, political thrillers...but I would almost certainly go over to their queue once in a while to see just what this political thriller business is about.

For other mediums: I would love to get Critter style critiques on art, but at the moment I can't even imagine how that's going to work with the website. Deviantart has spoiled me by being very slick and easy to use. (It also finally added a "real critique" feature, as opposed to "Lol pretty XD!" But only for subscribed artists, and only if you are lucky enough to bob to the surface at the same moment the one-in-a-million critiquer is online) On the other hand, Deviantart and its ilk just seem to spawn lazy feedback. I would love to practice my art-critiquing somewhere that has actual standards.

And by standards I mean... So, a story has to work on a grammar-syntax-punctuation format to be readable, never mind about character development and plot arc. A painting just has to be pretty. But that doesn't mean it CAN'T have a strong basis in craft. I think a lot of artists would benefit from reminders that their composition or color theory could be improved. But while there's a strong tradition of how to write critiques for a workshop story (how many Critters members have attended at least one workshop?), it's not as firmly entrenched in the art world. There's a lot of specialized knowledge that goes into art, as well, so how in-depth do you want to encourage critters to go?

Website considerations: Art takes bandwidth and there are already a lot of user-friendly sites for viewing images. Would you be trying to host art on the Critters site, or link out to websites like Flickr and Photobucket?

Last thoughts: By all means set up art critiques. I think for right now, the most useful thing would be a list of critiquing guidelines, the way you have the diplomacy guidelines and templates for writing resources. It would also help explain what the expectations are for people wanting their art critiqued.
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Re: Input wanted on how to structure an expanded Critters

Postby aburt » Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:59 am

Great idea on having critique guidelines/standards for each workshop. I'll definitely need help assembling those, since I'm no expert in those other fields. So, who's game to help? I think we have the writing workshops fairly well covered with the Critters how-to critique material, at least for now, so (to everyone reading this) pick a non-writing workshop and let me know!

Thanks!
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Re: Input wanted on how to structure an expanded Critters

Postby vashti » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:03 pm

Love all the ideas here and just wanted to kick off another idea - how about some horror poetry? It’s a very definitive word - poetry - yet 'horror poetry' perhaps does not truly fit within any of the forums due to its hybrid nature. I have been published over the years in horror mags and so forth whenever I get the time to focus on this type of writing so am wondering, would this idea be of interest to other users?
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Re: Input wanted on how to structure an expanded Critters

Postby aburt » Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:31 pm

Horror poetry is definitely welcome -- it would go in Critters with the SF/F/H material, and just choose "poetry" as the type on the submission page. (It wouldn't likely generate enough critical mass as a workshop by itself, I'm afraid. There have to be enough people working in that area and a lot of submissions. But if there were, they'd already be flooding Critters :) so I'd then want to break it out. Not perfect, but it would absolutely be at home in Critters.)
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Re: Input wanted on how to structure an expanded Critters

Postby vashti » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:49 am

aburt wrote:Horror poetry is definitely welcome -- it would go in Critters with the SF/F/H material, and just choose "poetry" as the type on the submission page. (It wouldn't likely generate enough critical mass as a workshop by itself, I'm afraid. There have to be enough people working in that area and a lot of submissions. But if there were, they'd already be flooding Critters :) so I'd then want to break it out. Not perfect, but it would absolutely be at home in Critters.)



No, that sounds very encouraging, Aburt, thank you. I now have no excuse not to keep writing. :-P
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Re: Input wanted on how to structure an expanded Critters

Postby crit25246 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:39 pm

Greg Hullender wrote:Finally, there's the question of whether there ought to be higher priorities for Critters itself. The option to submit PDF instead of text would be real, real nice. (I suspect 90% of critters can read PDF today, and I might be willing to forgo feedback from those who can't.)


I'd like to second this idea. In particular, I think that stories with more than a couple of sections in italics are hard to read in plain text (marked by underscores or equivalent).
(Sorry that I don't yet have anything to add re the main thrust of this thread -- I just joined Critters a couple of weeks ago and have been slowly browsing through the various sections and forums.)
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