Sections should be a minimum of 22 studs square, and should stick as closely to that as possible, but *can* go up to 32 studs square if necessary. The closer we can all stick to 22 studs square, however, the more realistic they will look as totem poles “carved” out of a single tree trunk.
The structure of the “join” between the sections is illustrated below. It’s based on the normal LEGO stud locking mechanism and fills the 22×22-stud area.
Please note: You can have protrusions, but for the sake of stability, keep them balanced. Also, don’t let them extend above or below your section limits. We don’t want overlap causing conflict between sections.