1. Fantasy-Friend
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    Fantasy-Friend New Member

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    Chapter Length

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Fantasy-Friend, Apr 23, 2012.

    Okay, so I'm currently working on a novel.... and i have NO IDEA how long to make the chapters... i know they should be good length, but idk what good length really is, i don't want to over crowd a chapter with to many details.... im also having issues with the length of my prologue.

    ** OMG IM SO SORRY I PUT THIS IN THE WRONG PLACE!!!! I ment to put this in General writing TT^TT**
     
  2. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    'How long is a piece of string' in other words there are no rules as to chapter length.

    A chapter should be as short or long as it needs to be.

    Prologues are not a necessity.
     
  3. Lightning
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    Lightning Member

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    Personally I make an interesting prologue that is important to the plot, then make my chapters around 3-6 A4 pages long. But, as stated above, there is no set length. Some books have large and some books have small. It's more about what makes the chapter feel good that's important.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto trilby on chapter length...

    prologues are commonly considered amateurish by agents and editors, as most new writers don't have a good reason for having one, and/or don't do them well...
     
  5. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    I always try to put chapters in breaks of my story or plot changes. That way it can break up it up into chapters. Chapters do not need to be too long because some readers will lose interest in long chapters. Go through your story and see where the changes of plot are, or where there are scenes you can break up without damaging the story.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I like my chapters to be long enough to make sense. I kind of hate short chapters, the kind Dan Brown writes. I think of chapters the way I think of an index: just a way of helping a reader find something he's interested in.

    My novel has eight chapters of about 10,000 words each. I realize most readers will find them long, but that's okay with me. I like my pork chops thick and well-marinated.
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    check the novels you've read lately. You'll see that chapters come in a variety of lenghts, from two pages or even less to easily over 15 or 20 pages. (printed book pages, that is). There are no rules. you make them as long as they need to be, don't try to make them longer or shorter than what feels natural.
     
  8. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    That is the best way I have heard it yet. As a reader, the only time I pay attention to a chapter is if I need a break for sleep so yours would be the type that would keep me awake all night.
     
  9. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    Ditto that. I have to reach a sensible break in the story before I can put the book down, and regular chapter breaks (or scene breaks) give me places to pause and make a cuppa or get some shut eye.

    My chapters are between 5,000 and 7,000 words, but I have lots of scene breaks within them. My scenes are usually anything from 500 to 2,500 words.
     
  10. sunwave
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    sunwave Member

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    Chapters can be any lenght. Still, you might want to reconsider having chapters of 2 pages and others being 40 pages (still, done well, it can work). In my personal project, my chapters range between 8 and 20 pages. Ususally, my chapters end when I switch to a different POV character. The only thing I want to say: Don't "randomly" start a new chapter. But I don't think that's a problem with most of us.
     
  11. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Each chapter should preferably mark a change in the story. So it should centralise on one event, or one situation.

    So if the story was about how Tom was gonna break his brother Jim out of prison, my chapters might be: 1. Tom hears the news and decides to do something. 2. Tom prepares for it and is about to set off. 3. How Tom gets there. 4. Getting into the prison and finding his brother. 5. Finds brother and breaks him out. 6. Get out of jail alive together.

    So each chapter moves the plot forward, but it's almost a mini story in itself as it focuses on one task and how that one thing is accomplished, and then finishes on a concluding point where said task is accomplished but with a mini-cliff-hanger since the characters must now move onto their 2nd task, and 3rd task, and 4th and so on.

    so the chapter length should be as long as it takes to get that task done. Or if the task is way too big, then it's time to further break it down into maybe 2-3 mini tasks, meaning 2-3 more chapters.

    I try to keep mine between 2000-5000 words (about 10-20 pages long for my formatting - 1.5 spacing with 1" margins in New Courier font). I don't like to go over 5000 generally, but I like to keep mine more than 2000. Just feels right. If it's just a mini task, 2000-5000 words should do the job generally speaking.
     

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