1. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 New Member

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    How long is too long?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by chacotaco91, Feb 26, 2011.

    Hi y'all, I'm eventually going to post a piece of my work in the review room, but I'm afraid it would be too long for most people's busy schedules, and they'd simply be turned away. It would be a single chapter in my novel, (only about 13 chapters in) and would roughly be about 3200 words.

    I'd like to give smaller bits, but I feel I need to give my whole chapters work for people to comment on its structure, flow, and generally how well it fits as a form of storytelling. I'd like to know if there is enough description in it, or if the dialogue fits well for the amount of info in the chapter.

    Would it turn people off if it was too long? I don't think it would have too many errors as I spend a lot of time re-editing, and thus write very slow. However I may not pick up on some things and it could ultimately be a drag to critique.

    Does the length of a work turn you off to reviewing or cause you to write a more passive review?

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  2. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Member Contributor

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    Hi

    I have to admit that I am personally guilty of turning my back on a piece if it is overly long, but I'm sure that there are people around here with more admirable indefatigability in that regard, so go ahead and post what you feel is appropriate. :)
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma New Member Contributor

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    3000 is about max I will look at - if you want an indepth review on all of it consider posting it in three 1000 length sections.
     
  4. VM80
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    VM80 New Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I tend to look at shorter pieces as well I'm afraid. Time...
     
  5. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 New Member

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    Thanks y'all. Seems like for best results, keep things short.
     
  6. w176
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    w176 New Member Contributor

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    Keep if short, but if someone show a personal interest in your work you might ask them to take a look at the whole chapter, and tell them that you will return the favor if they ever feel like it.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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  8. Manav
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    Manav New Member

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    Usually 1000 to 1500 words excerpt is enough to get the feedback you are looking for and also that is a comfortable length for the reviewers.
     
  9. Eunoia
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    Eunoia New Member Contributor

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    Like others have said, 3200 words seems a bit long. I don't like reading more than 1000ish words of a piece online really as I can't keep focused and sometimes it hurts my eyes. If you posted it in parts then it'd be better.
     
  10. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 New Member

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    Well I posted an excerpt from my writings, less than 700 words, and so far not a single comment.....:(
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It happens. You have to be patient. Also, it doesn't hurt to go out of your way to GIVE well thought out critiques. What goes around comes around.
     
  12. someguyontheinternet
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    someguyontheinternet New Member

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    Do what looks best

    If your going to post a 3000 word chapter, take a good long look, read it, see how much time it takes, and if you think that you'd be comfortable reading that, post it. If not, split it into parts.
     
  13. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Member

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    I must be the only one who doesn't care at all about the total size. I'll review from the beginning and until I feel tired and stop. I've done several reviews in several parts.

    I'd even say I prefer long fragments so I can take as much as I want and then go back to the text if I liked it and review some more.
     
  14. Jay With The Missing Hat
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    Jay With The Missing Hat New Member

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    In our course workshops we usually review work that's about 1000 words. If the story is interesting, I don't mind reading all of it, but the shorter it is the easier it is to thoroughly critique.
     
  15. xisnotx
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    xisnotx New Member

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    "Too long is only long if long isn't long enough."

    Anything that takes me more than five minutes to read would have to be exceptionally interesting for me to keep at it.
     
  16. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter New Member

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    I am weird when it comes to reading. If there's a lot of text, I won't lie, I turn my back away. I know that's a bad habit, so I try to read it. If the story starts off with a hook, and can immediately get my interest, I'll stick it through and read the story, and it won't seem like work as much. :/ But that's just me.
     
  17. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I prefer short stories myself.
    You would know if it is too long because it drags.
    short and brief are those I remember best.
     
  18. Luna13
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    Luna13 Member

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    I generally read something however long it is... given that it is interesting. If I don't like it, I just stop, but if it's really good writing than I would be happy to read it. Sometimes, I like it longer because if it's really good, I don't want it to end.
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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  20. Jowettc
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    Jowettc New Member

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    @Chaco - there are no set rules for choice of style. The length of your work should be just long enough to convey whatever it is you want to convey without extraneous or unecessary wordage. There are asmany guidelines around as their are opinions - and thats quite a lot.

    If you are writing specifically for publication with a literary journal they may have strict rules - they may not.
    If you are writing for a competition entry - there will be strict rules.
    If you are writing for yourself at this stage - you have your own rules.

    Just note that you should view sentences, paragraphs and chapters as units which tell a story.
    In m yunderstanding, generally, a sentence conveys a stand alone statement.
    A paragraph conveys a series of statements connected by a common purpose.
    A Chapter contains a series of paragraphs representing a piece of the plot in it's entirety.

    Other than those general guides - go wild. I have read books with chapters that were immensely long and other books with chapters that were little more than two pages....
     
  21. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause New Member

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    I usually glaze over a little when it comes to the lengthier postings here. Same goes for the flash-fiction pieces too. I think between 1-2k words is the sweet spot. Although if a posting has a fantastic first few paragraphs free of existential naval-gazing, I'll usually keep reading regardless of how long it is.
     
  22. michaelj
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    michaelj Member

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    If the chapter is good enough, I see no reason why not to read it. I don't see the point in posting quarter of a chapter because what if you want opinions of the whole chapter, not just a segment? For example what if you feel like if the chapter sucks to the public then you'll quit the project but if there is enough decent critique (and not just, tl;dr or it sucks) then you'll continue? That's the way I see it.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The point of critique is not to help the writer fix that novel, or that chapter, but the writer's writing in general. To that end, the briefest excerpt that illustrates the writer's style.

    The writer is expected to be able to take those lessons and distribute it over all his or her work.

    Now, if the writer's problem is constructing an extended scene with a clear beginning, body, and end, it may be necessary to include that entire scene. However, a chapter is an arbitrary division. There are few situations where it is productive to present a lengthy chapter for critique, and certaimnly not as the initial offering.
     
  24. rick_danger
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    rick_danger New Member

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    The frist paragragh of the first chapter.
     
  25. bsbvermont
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    bsbvermont Member

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    I understand how you feel about wanting to present the whole chapter. I would say "go for it" if the site allows, and then folks can read the whole chapter or up to where they feel comfortable.
     

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