Ahoy, Critterfolk!
New entry Dec 07

Critter Notices

Critters is 23!

Yes, 23 years ago Critters was born. Wow! Thanks so much to all of you, who've made it such a resounding success!

Critters no longer accepting European Union members :(

It's with a heavy heart that I have to announce Critters can no longer accept people in the European Union as members. This is a result of the "GDPR" privacy laws going into effect. I'm a big fan of privacy, and applaud the general idea behind the GDPR, but the way it's implemented forces me to close the door to EU writers. [read more why...]

Books from Critters!

Check out Books by Critters for books by your fellow Critterfolk, as well as my list of recommended books for writers.

New Book from a Critter Member

**NOW IN PRINT EDITION TOO!** Awesome new book, HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SPECULATIVE FICTION OPENINGS, from a Critter member whose unearthed a shard of The Secret to becoming a pro writer. Really good piece of work. "...if you're at all concerned about story openings, you'd be nuts not to read what Qualkinbush has to say." —Wil McCarthy, author of BLOOM and THE COLLAPSIUM

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.

P&E Has a New Caretaker!

I'm very happy to announce that P&E has been handed off to a new caretaker! Check out the site for news and such. Hurrah!


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 - 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

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

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]








Critters Inverviews

An Interview with Larry Niven

Critter member Kari Tulinius interviews Larry Niven award winning author of a numerous books and short stories, such as the Ringworld series.

Do you read fiction while writing? Do you find it alters your own work?

Yes. Maybe.

Do you only write genre fiction, or have you written other forms of fiction? Do you prefer to write genre fiction, and if so, why? Did you learn anything writing other forms of fiction that you feel has improved your skills in genre fiction?

Paying attention to what genre I'm in, would be crippling. I just write the damn story.

Have you written any nonfiction--articles, books, travelogues, restaurant reviews, personal essays, whatnot? Do you find that such writing helps your fiction, or merely gets in the way?

Sure. It's always done for the fun of it. Practice is good; versatility is good.

What is your educational/personal background (are you a PhD physicist, high school graduate, Army brat, jazz musician, skydiving hobbyist, father of ten, etc) and how has this affected your writing -- subject matter, characters, worldbuilding, ideas, etc.?

Bachelor in Math. (D. Litt, honorary.) Rich family. Former wimp, smoker, drinker. Current hiker, yoga, clean living. Everything I do, and everything done to me, works its way into my fiction.

What are you tired of seeing in genre fiction? What staples of the genre would you like to see go to their hard-earned and well-deserved retirement, in favor of something (please, anything!) else?

I've seen enough dragons, vampires, King Arthur retellings.

How long did it take for you to get from "serious about writing" to "selling writer"?

Year and a half.

Did you participate in a workshop? Where there other writers who "made it" with you in that workshop? When do you think that the right time to quit is?

Famous Writers School. (Correspondance.) I quit in the middle of "characterization", 2/3 through, because I was selling.

How did you keep writing in the face of rejections?


How do you process raw story ideas?

I play with them, let them play together, until something takes a shape.

How does a basic idea for a story become a whole story?

Sometimes it doesn't. One secret: I almost always know the ending going in.

What comes first while processing aforementioned ideas, characters, plots, setting?

I never can tell.

What do you focus on while creating plots?

"Plots" is critic's jargon. Writers don't need that. I'm just trying to tell myself a story.

How do you create characters? Do you primarily base characters on people you know, or create them from whole cloth?

Generally the story assumptions shape the characters. Who has to be there?

How do you integrate these characters into a story?


What do you keep in mind while writing character interaction?

Who they are. I'm talking for both/all of them. Then again, writing and rewriting them is how I get to know them.

You have worked on a number of collaborations, do you have any advice for writers who intend to collaborate?

Yeah. I wrote an article on the subject. Basic rules: Don't go into it lightly. Be prepared--both of you--to do your 80% of the work. Outline it to death. You wouldn't want to hare off in different directions.

You have often extrapolated stories from new scientific findings, anything which needs special attention when doing so?

Try not to get caught in stupid mistakes.

2 Aug 1998


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Sad minion   Sad minion — last donation was 6 days ago. About $3300 to go. A big Thank You! to Bill Leonard, Donald B Gibb, Steven Fritz, and lots of other Critterfolk for their contributions!

Critters is entirely funded by donations from Critterfolk like you, so yours is most appreciated. Click here to make the minions happy. Every dollar helps. Thanks for your support!



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