Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Critters again

Yesterday was the final day to get critiques for my latest story to go through Critters:  The Weatherman.  I mused about the correlation between length and number of critiques last time, although my theory that number of critiques goes up with a shorter length didn't quite pan out.  I received 18 critiques this time, for my 2,300 word story.  (Which was a much more manageable number for me--I actually read them all already and got thank-you's to everybody.  I gave up on thank-you's halfway through, last time.)

I'm sure there are lots of variables in how many critiques a story gets, but I see quality as being a big factor.  I largely got favorable reviews for Bleeders:  people said "I liked it, you just need to work on A, B, and C."  The Weatherman had much larger issues, so perhaps people lost interest before getting to the end. 

I do know where it needs work though.  I confess that I had the desire to grab someone by the shirt and yell "Okay!  I get it already!" to the tenth person to offer me the same piece of criticism.  Of course, this isn't an in-person workshop:  they're not all in the same room repeating one another in an attempt to have something to say.  (I probably should have walked away from the computer at that point.  But I was almost done with the critiques!)

Anyway, with the information I got, I can rewrite it soon--or at least, when I have time.  I paused my novel to rewrite Bleeders and I've been away from it for too long.  The Weatherman rewrite will probably wait until that's done.

This is the first time since I joined Critters that I haven't had a story in the queue.  My backlog is gone--everything else is either already in slush pile circulation or is so raw that I don't need other people to tell me what's wrong with it.  I'd thought about doing a quick second draft of a newer story so I could get it in line, but decided (again) that I'd rather not distract myself from the novel.  Novels are just so different from stories, and the word count is daunting, that I don't need any extra encouragement to stall.

So I won't have anything to send to Critters for another month or three.  I hope they don't forget about me!


David Barron said...

Oh no! The one week I ignore Critters. Oh well. It can't hurt to send a rough through, for entertainment purposes at least. My current manuscript up is such, dashed off during a boring meeting and spell-checked.

My theory is that the pieces that get the most critiques are those free of glaring general sloppiness but with enough discrete style or plot clunkers to be easy to critique.

I usually just download the manuscript .zip file and go through openings until I have ten promising ones, then I make the magic happen.

Carine said...

I'm also on Critters. What I find the most confusing is when you get conflicting crits where one person hated an aspect of a story and someone else loved it and you have to decide whose feedback to go with (and its sometimes not as simple as agreeing with the one who loved it. Regardless, its a rewarding process.

Btw, have you thought about going for something like a novella, which is an in-between length? There are quite a few e-publishers out there specifically looking for stories with a word count around 10k to 15k.

Eileen Rhoadarmer said...

David--I don't usually like sending a story out if I already know what needs work--I don't want 15 people telling me what I already know. Then I would really want to throttle people. I can only produce so much at a time anyway, so it doesn't hurt to wait.

I read the intros too, though on the web--and I also keep an eye out for people who have critiqued my work.

Carine--Actually, many of my earliest stories are novella-length. I tend to overwrite though, so that wasn't always a good thing. I have two that I'm currently submitting at around the 10,000 word mark. Getting to a novelette or even a novella isn't too hard for me, but my current project just has so much to it that I know it'll be a novel. I've been wanting to take the plunge into something that long anyway. I'm excited--although it is daunting to have 17 pages and not even be at the 10,000 word mark yet.