1. lyteside
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    lyteside Member

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    Chapter size Ratio to 8 1/2 x 11" paper

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by lyteside, Mar 10, 2009.

    How many pages should I expect a chapter to be on average for 8 1/2 x 11" paper? I'm using 11 pt. font, arial, single spaced.
     
  2. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well a chapter can be from half a page (or less) to welll dozens of pages. On any format

    So i can't reeally anserr your question. As chapter length depends on the writer. Its nothing you can set in concrete.
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Beyond what Speedy indicated, chapter length would also depend on the page size, font size and spacing that a publisher would use.

    Terry
     
  4. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Off topic, editing arial 11 pt. in single spacing is going to be an eye killer.

    I've seen chapters that were made up of four to twenty words and some books don't even have chapters. I never even put chapter divisions until the first editing swipe.

    Long enough to cover the essentials, short enough to maintain interest -- like a miniskirt.
     
  5. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    As others have said, there four factors that determine word count per paperback page: 1) page size, 2) font size, 3) layout (margins and left justification versus full justification) and 4) spacing between letters. Most trade paperbacks fall into fairly standard sizes and the range of letter sizes has practical limits so the typical rule of thumb is 250 to 300 words per fully written . . . "fully written", as opposed to pages where the printing does not fill the page like the first or last page of a chapter. So do a word count of your manuscript and divide by 250 for a book with larger print sizes or smaller page sizes. For smaller print sizes or slightly larger page size, divide by 300. This will give you two numbers that represent the "range" of pages you can expect for any total word count.
     
  6. sorites
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    sorites Senior Member

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    From the softback detective novel on my desk, Fool Moon by Jim Butcher:

    10 words per line x 37 lines per page = 370 words per page

    370 words per page x 9 pages per chapter = 3,330 words per chapter

    3,330 words per chapter / 700 words per page in Word 2003 (Times New Roman, 12 pt, single spaced) = 5 pages per chapter in Word 2003

    This is an estimate, of course. In the five chapters I looked at, they had 9, 5, 15, 12, and 10 pages per chapter, respectively.

    Butcher's books have short chapters, which I like because I can pick it up, read a chapter while I'm eating lunch, and have a good place to stick the bookmark.
     
  7. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    Five pages sounds about average for the books I read.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    y'got me scratching my head there, salty... don't know what paperbacks have to do with the op's question, since he's referring to the 8.5x11" paper he prints out his ms on, not an actual book...

    lyteside...
    as has been noted above, there is no standard chapter size... some successful authors, such as james patterson, are partial to 1-2 page long ones and some, like james michener, fond of book-length ones...

    but, first of all, unless you intend to self-publish, your pages should be in 12 pt courier new font and double-spaced, since that IS a standard... in fact, it's the industry-mandated format for mss that will be submitted to agents and publishers...

    if you use the proper format and have the standard 1" margins all around, you'll average 250 words per page... and fyi, in the writing world/publishing industry, it's only word count that counts, not the number of pages...

    as for your own chapters, make them whatever length seems best for the content and your storyline, taking into consideration the age of your readers, if it's not for the adult market...

    hope this helps... love and hugs, maia
     
  9. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mamma's got it. It can be whatever length you want it to be, and word count is all that matters, and there is no rule. You can have one that's fifty pages or fifty words as long it is makes sense for the content. Personally I think anythong more than thirty pages is usually too long, but that's my personal preference.
     
  10. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    When he asked how many chapters, I thought he meant when the manuscript went into book form. Guess I misunderstood.
     
  11. Phifty2
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    Phifty2 Member

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    They can be any size although not a universal rule their size should reamin somewhat constant throughout the book. For example, you can have a few chapters that are half a page and some that are 30 pages but if your chapter length is contanly changing from 1 page, then 50, then 2, then 30, the 1 again; and so on I would find this distracting.
     
  12. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    But I guess do whatever you want. Being original is being different after all.
     
  13. Pliny
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    Pliny Member

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    Well, the books I read use a smaller page size (4.5x7), and size 9.5 font with 1.5 spacing, if I'm not mistaken. Nigh all paperback fiction novels are this size, not including anthologies, multi-book publications, etc...

    In general, chapters I read amount to 13-17 pages with the above formatting.
     
  14. JGraham
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    JGraham Senior Member

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    I would try and not limit it to a set number. Usually i just write until i feel i have covered what i wanted to. My longest chapters are around twelve pages and i have chapters that are only a few paragraphs. As long as you make it interesting and it adds to the story it does not matter.
     

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