My third story went out to Critters last week, and the last of the critiques filtered in yesterday. I have to say that in my three story cycles, I've noticed quite a correlation between length of story and number of critiques. That is, the shorter the story, the more critiques it receives--to a point, anyway. Stories shorter than 2,000 words get only half credit, so I imagine it may drop off for those.
My first story, The French Maid, was around 5,000 words, and I got 25 critiques for it--many more than I had expected. My second story, Pandora's Time, was 10,000 words, and I only got 10 critiques for it. This story, Bleeders, is 2,500 words long, and I bagged an incredible 39 critiques! I mean Wow! My next story, The Weatherman, which is scheduled to go out August 18 or 25, is only 2,300 words long. I wonder how many I'll get next time?
I would like to think that I tell a good story, and that this is also a factor in the number of critiques--certainly some of the stories I've looked at (and usually passed on) have been difficult to read because of grammatical and other issues--but I also don't want to sound cocky. I'm in this to improve, after all.
And improve I shall. There are two points that came up in most of the critiques I've read so far, and a few more that came up frequently, so I already know what needs work. But for the first time in my three cycles, I didn't read all the critiques as they came in. (I really couldn't keep up anyway.) I've made it through about two-thirds of them, and I'll be taking the rest a few at a time over the next few days.
To be honest, the novel I've blogged about a few times now has just taken over, and I've preferred to spend my precious naptime working on that than obsessively reading my critiques. I ought to finish categorizing the critiques, because Bleeders doesn't seem to need too much work, and it would be wise for me to get it out into Submissionland. It would also be wise for me to make a second draft of my most-recently-written story so I can get it into the Critters queue, and get it out into Submissionland soon as well. But... the novel calls.
It sounds so weird to say "I'm working on the novel"--I guess I'm not used to it yet. It's really been taking over. It's on my mind a lot, and it's flowing a lot faster than anything else I've written recently. I'm frequently hitting the 1,000 words a day mark (I don't set myself wordcount goals, but I've been counting after stopping) and it just keeps coming. It's a little odd to have more time to meander and set the scene--I'm fleshing out things that I'm used to skimming past (the short story form has been all I've done for years now)--but I'm enjoying it. It's going to take a long time at this pace, but I'm excited to branch out into this new form.