In the creative writing class I'm taking, we were given the choice to divide the class between poetry and short stories (or do all of one) OR to work on a novel. Thinking to myself "well, I ultimately want to write novels, so this could be a good opportunity" I chose to go the novel route, along with most of the class. Basically, the format is that we submit chapters (or reasonably sized sections or whatever) one at a time, and the class critiques them. This seemed like a good enough idea at first, but shortly into the semester, I found myself wishing I had chosen to do short stories. It feels like the novel is just not suited to chapter by chapter critique, at least not according to my own style of novel writing. All of the novelists except one are clearly losing steam. The problems we run into include more minor ones like classmates losing track of characters and plot elements (since they have seven other stories to read, and each chapter is read a week or more apart), or not being able to critique the story properly because they can't know whether or not a random detail will be important later. There are also much more serious problems, the most notable being that you get tons of feedback about how chapter one could be better, but chapter two is due tomorrow. Do you write chapter two based on the revised chapter one and leave everybody confused about small but important detail changes (or rely on an awkward author's note to describe the changes in improper context)? Or do you submit a chapter two that is consistent with chapter one, but is no longer the story you want to write (rendering the whole class useless)? Or do you revise chapter one and submit it again, mostly unchanged (the professor illegalized this option shortly after everybody started doing it)? But the worst for me (and others who use a similar style) is that I feel like I have to start writing before I know what I want the story to be about, then I write a properly focused second draft. This is fine for workshopping short stories, I just write the whole thing twice, and submit the second draft so it can get feedback that is actually useful. But in my novel, I'm 100 or so pages in, and now that I understand my characters, I realize I need to re-do the whole thing from the beginning in order to incorporate the new knowledge. Is my creative writing teacher just doing a bad job of it, or are novels just plain un-workshopable? Has anyone had any successful experiences with novel workshops? Any advice on how I can still benefit from the class? I feel like it could be beneficial to just workshop the first chapter, and use the class to get critiques on several openings for different novels and then really refine those openings so they serve as a solid foundation when you do write the novel. But after this class, I feel like workshopping whole novels just doesn't work. Sorry it's so long. In summary: Can novels be workshopped? And if so, how could one go about it effectively?