With most other workshops, the minimum word-count for a reasonably well-considered critique ranges from a sentence to 150 words. Supporting such a low word-count never ceases to spawn several complaint threads on those sites’ forums.
When we decided to have 500 words as the minimum acceptable word-count, it was with the following considerations in mind:
- Anything less than 500 words amounts to a comment—some might argue this is a valid critique. But, often, such “critiques” have little substance for the writer to consider.
- For many members, 500 words is that “magic” threshold—if a writer can draft a 3,000-word chapter or short story, then drafting 500 words of critique is much easier.
- Once a critic manages to draft 500 words of a well-considered opinion, 600 isn’t so challenging. Later, 700, 800 and then 1,500 becomes second nature.
Yes, crafting a critique can be time-consuming, just as drafting and re-drafting a chapter can be a task. But the more you do it, the easier it becomes, and at some point, the scales tip in your favour: This workshop gives back as much as you put into it. Once you join a team and participate in our sprints, the practice is quickly rewarded. Not only that, you’re cultivating good working habits that can be applied to your writing practice.
Last Edited: 16 months ago