1. Asuran
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    Asuran Member

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    Chapter Length

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Asuran, Jul 16, 2008.

    Now, chapter length varies a whole lot. I know that. What I am asking is, "Is there ever a point to draw the line?" I don't think so, but I'm a little apprehensive about the third chapter of my upcoming novella. It consists of:

    Logall,

    Run!

    M​

    * * * * * * * * * *​

    And he did.
     
  2. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I guess it doesn't really matter. It could be fine.

    I've seen most around 10 pages. One I just read had 10 page chapters, 40 page chapters, and 60 page chapters (that wasn't fun). Another book I read didn't even have chapters, instead it was split up into 4 parts, each about 100 pages long, but I didn't like that, there was never a great place to stop...it wasn't even a great book.
    Also, I think that the second chapter in 'Holes' is half a page long.

    So you can do it if you want to. =D Besides, it's something different.
     
  3. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    It all depends on how long you need to tell that part of the story. A chapter should find a natural ending.

    Personally, and that's the key word, I would find your example way too short. But, as I said that is just me, and if it serves the story and creates what you need it to, then I suppose it's fine.
     
  4. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I have to say it was on the short side... but it is your writing. Do what ever you want. =D
     
  5. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    I really don't think it matters how long your chapters are, and I remeber my English teacher telling me once she read a book where an entire chapter was one word. If it works, then go for it. :)
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    regardless of brevity, it should be typed correctly... and it's not...

    should be:

     
  7. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    I recently picked up a novel that my wife was reading. As I thumbed through it, I noticed it had over 100 "chapters"...it was only 340 pages long. Many "chapters" were comprised of no more than a short paragraph or two. I threw the book down in contempt. It might be a very good story but I got the impression that the author didn't have much "story" to tell, so she broke it up in such a way as to "fill" 340 pages with a lot of white space.

    After my wife finished the book, I asked her what she thought of all those little "chapters". She said they were annoying because most of them were continuations of a theme that probably should have been in a single larger unit of writing...i.e. a larger chapter. She also said, she will never again buy a book by that author.

    Now, if you're talking about one or two "chapters" being unusually short as a method for emphasis or drama, no problem. But, I just told you about the other extreme and how it effected my wife, an avid reader. Some writer just lost a potential fan.
     
  8. Asuran
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    Asuran Member

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    Hmm... Well, I think you are missing the fact that the first part is a letter written to Logall, not a command.
     
  9. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    It does help to know that it is a letter, now it makes a bit more sense.
     
  10. Daisy
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    Daisy New Member

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    In literature you can do about anything you want. Will a publisher buy it? Maybe, if the story is great they may not care about chapter length or the editor may ask you to change it.

    Simply from my point of view, and all readers have their own, I'd rather see that little "letter" at the end of the previous chapter. Sure would make me flip the page to find out what happens next.

    Does the previous chapter also end with a bang, or a question, or a cliffhanger, or something to keep the reader interested?
     
  11. Scribe Rewan
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    Yeah I must admit that I only realised it was a letter when you said. Maybe you could find some way of making it a bit more apparent. You could even handwrite it, and then scan it in a paste it into your novel, and though you had photocopied the actual letter into your work.
     
  12. FantasyWitch
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    FantasyWitch Contributing Member

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    My chapter one is 7000 words so really i think it varies!
     
  13. writinginsecret
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    writinginsecret Member

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    I agree with daisy and others that chapter length should be dictated by action. One should try to end a chapter with a question or impied need for action -- something that makes the reader ponder or suck in breath in anticipation. The beginning of the next chapter should begin with action or answer.

    Your particular chapter may work well depending on where the last chapter left off or you may want to bring this chapter into the last. The great thing about writing is that you the writer get to decide. Now, whether an editor or prescreener likes it, or your audience likes it, is another story altogether.

    Best of luck on this story and most of all, have fun with it!

    JL
     

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