1. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    A chapter that doesn't fit with the rest...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Norm, Jun 6, 2011.

    I am currently writing chapter thirteen of my WIP, and I just realized that it's going to be a massive chapter, I mean I have kind of focused on shorter chapters (average range 1000-2500 words per chapter, with chapter ten being an exception with ~3500 words). The point is, I was aiming for shorter chapters because it is an action book for YA so I want to hold their attention because I remember a time when I was younger and it was difficult for me to get though books if the chapters were too long.

    Anyway, chapter thirteen is already at 1500 words, and just getting off it's feet in terms of what I planned on including in it. I wouldn't be surprised if it hit 5000 words or more. Here's the thing, would a massive chapter amongst a legion of shorter ones be distracting for you as a reader? I don't want someone to be use to having 5-10 page chapters and then all the sudden here comes one that's 25+ and they might get pulled out of the story wondering what's up with this? Do you know what I mean?

    Would you guys suggest breaking this chapter into two parts, breaking them up as part one ending in a mini-climax and then part two being even more intense? Should I just keep the behemoth chapter and try to tame it? I don't know what kind of direction I want to carry this, so input would be appreciated.
     
  2. Rascal
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    Rascal Member

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    To me, how the author decides to split up chapters has never bothered me in my reading. I read exactly how much I want to read, even if I stop in the middle of a chapter. However, I can understand wanting to keep your chapters shorter for children. My recommendation would be to try to find a point in the middle of the chapter where you can cut it off (maybe with a cliffhanger), then continue on with a new chapter. If you can't do that, just write the chapter how you would normally write it, and perhaps edit it later.

    Hope I could help.
     
  3. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    I have to ask, is there really no way to seperate your 13th chapter at all? There must be some sort of a break point you could use right?
     
  4. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Well the 13th chapter is to showcase a fight between two main characters. I feel that I should include the entire encounter into one chapter, you know? However, like I said before there is a potential point where I could possibly split it into part I and part II, but I don't know if I should bother with that or just keep it as one massive chapter.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Only you can answer that question. My inclination would be, Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. If the chapter needs 3500 words to hand together properly, them let it take 3500 words.

    But if there is a natural place to break it, that's worth considering too.
     
  6. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Has anyone seen a book where a chapter was split into parts one and two before? I know it is very common in TV shows, but have never seen it in a book.
     
  7. GraceCousins
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    GraceCousins Member

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    I think it would be interesting if there was one particular moment that really stands out in the chapter. You mentioned it was about a fight, is there a moment when one of the characters might not survive the fight, or (if it's more a verbal fight) reveal an important or interesting part of the plot? Having a crucial moment be the end of one chapter could have advantages, including making the reader more anxious to keep reading.
     
  8. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I've seen chapters split that way and I never cared how they were split. If the book was interesting, it would hold my attention.
     
  9. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    I meant that it is an intense physical fight. Like I said, I do have a potential place to split the chapter up, so at this point I'm just wondering whether it is something that should be done.
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Who cares how long the chapters are? When I'm caught up in reading an engrossing novel, I don't look for chapter breaks; I'm too into the story. If a chapter takes 5000 or even 10,000 words, I won't mind, so long as the story keeps me going.

    I'd hate to think you're wrecking the flow of your story to meet arbitrary chapter length requirements. That would be like hammering the square peg into the proverbial round hole, and it will likely show in the work.

    So just write it the way it comes naturally. Make it as good as you can, and damn the chapter breaks.
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I agree with the others. Let the chapter be as long as it needs to be. Don't break up one intense scene into two chapters, it would just annoy me as the reader. If I'm liking it and reading, I don't want to be interrupted.

    Cheers.
     
  12. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    I did notice you said this was YA? What age are you aiming at? Because when I was younger, I did notice chapter length, although I don't now.
     
  13. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    14-20 age range.
     
  14. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    When reading I've never worried about chapters. I stop when I, as a reader feel I can stop.

    What really annoys me with books, is if I'm unable to stop reading after 3-6 pages.

    I read a lot in my spare time, so in lunch hours at work etc. So being forced to pull myself away from a good book mid-sentence is horrid.

    So, for me, the chapters are not important, but a page break, or a full spot at the end of a page is vital!
     
  15. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    I was reading an article yesterday about young adult fiction and how hardly anyone over the age of 18 reads any of it. Instead, regardless of being aimed at older tenagers children are reading young adult from around 11-16 and then reading adult (if they care to read at all!). I know that's the ages you've set on, but may look it up, because it wouldn't be a standardised age range when you went to publish.

    As for chapter - I say make it long. I never noticed chapters as a kid (barely notice them now). In fact I went to google how long the average chapter was just yesterday (apparently between 3500 and 5000 for a chapter in Philosopher Stone) bearing in mind that was aimed at 8 to 12 year olds. Better to have it long, than an unwanted interuption.

    Good Luck :)
     
  16. lost123
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    lost123 Senior Member

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    longer chapters are always annoying, you should split it up somehow.
     
  17. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    My advice would be to leave it as is for now. If and when you have the opportunity to have it published, this is something that would be worked out with your editor.
     
  18. _Lulu_
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    _Lulu_ Member

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    I don't care that much for chapters, it's when I'm drawn in it keeps me turning the pages. The only time I think about chapters is when I say to myself, I'll just read to the end of the chapter then put the book down, but of course after that chapter finishes I keep on reading lol.

    I say just write it, go with the natural flow and don't force any split if it's not meant to be.
    Tbh though, I don't think anyone will stop reading when they get to the last chapter and realise it's longer than all the others.
     
  19. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    As others have said. Just go with it. If your chapter requires more, then it requires more.

    It's kind of funny, but I hate short chapters in books for various reasons, especially when the author breaks up something when it would have been better longer because it breaks your momentum while reading. I don't know why someone would feel like shorter chapters equals a faster read. It's just an illusion; but people have different tastes. I'm one that prefers longer chapters.
     
  20. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    ^ I hate short chapters too -- it makes the reading feel jilted.
     
  21. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Well part one looks like it'll end up being around 2.2k words after some editing. If part two is under 2k words, then I'll probably not even bother splitting them up.
     
  22. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Then you must hate James Patterson stuff. He writes the shortest chapters. He averages around 100 chapters a book. :p
     
  23. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Dan Brown sometimes has chapters that are only a few lines long, maybe even only one sentence. I find that annoying.
     
  24. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I couldn't care less whether there are long chapters, short chapters, a combination of the two, or no chapters at all.
     

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