Hi Everyone, Not sure if this is an apt title for the thread, but there's something I've been wondering about. I recently joined a critique group made up of many genre writers (incl. crime fiction, thrillers, mysteries, etc). The novel I'm working on now is sort of a hybrid of different genres because I started it before I knew that much, and there wasn't really a plan. Anyway, I've been getting criticized for overwriting lately, but that doesn't upset me much because I'm a former non-fic writer and I know I push in too much detail. The thing that's got me rattled is that when they go over each of my chapters and correct them line by line, some of them trim things to the point where each sentence is shaved within an inch of its life and I barely recognize my own writing. Now, I understand when info. isn't needed and I am glad to have someone point that out, but I don't have a brief style. The people cutting things are mostly crime writers, etc. and their writing is very succinct. It works very well for what they're doing and I would call them good writers, but their work bears no resemblance to other writers I've read either like Louise Erdrich, Toni Morrison, or even Ernest Hemingway. I mean, I'm not saying most writing does bear resemblance to those folks (mine included, of course!!) but I do get the feeling I could post a paragraph by Erdrich with her long sentences and oddly placed commas and it would be cut down immediately for failing to get to the point. I don't want to sound bitter, and I really do appreciate their input because it's making me think of new things. I realize I have to trim and I am actively trying to do it, but I find myself getting frustrated to the point where I don't know what to write anymore. That if it's not short and sweet (including no more than 25 words per sentence so the reader doesn't have to work too hard, as one said) then it is just not 'good writing'. So anyhow, I guess my question is---when is a criticism about Style or Substance, and how do you tell the difference? Haha. Now I guess I could have just posted that question above and forgotten the rest, LOL. I'm sorry to go on so long, but I'm really confused right now and don't know if I should just give this up altogether. I want to write well, but nothing here seems to be working. Ugh! Thanks.