1. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Chapter Titles--- or Not?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Catrin Lewis, Jul 27, 2016.

    Who's naming their chapters? Do you ever get stuck for the right ones?

    If you've written (or are writing) more than one book, do both/all of them have chapter titles?

    Do you think your readers would be thrown off if some of your novels had chapter titles and others didn't? Or would it depend on genre?
     
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  2. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't in my actually novels, but for planning I do, that way I know what each chapter should be.
     
  3. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    I've read stories that have chapter titles and others that don't, neither bothered me. I believe it's down to your preference and what suites your story. I have personally tried to do chapter titles but have failed miserably :bigoops: so I do prefer numbered chapters, it's quick and easy for both writers and readers. I would say at this stage that numbering your chapters is wise and then to go back and change them during the editing process if you wish to do so.
    I hope that helps :-D
     
  4. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I'm concerned most about consistency. The second book will have chapter titles, but so far, the first book, which is in final editing, does not. I'm wondering if I should brand myself as an author who does it one way or the other.
     
  5. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Well then I think that could come back to the type of genre, as well as if the stories are part of a series. If they're connected by either of those things then I'd want chapter titles to be consistent, if they're not then try it the other way. Although, what made you change from numbers to titles in the first place?
    Ultimately, as a writer, it's up to you. If you want chapter titles to be your thing then go for it!
     
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  6. BWriter
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    BWriter Member

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    I haven't written anything with chapters yet but I quite like it when writers use quotes from other writers as chapter titles. I think it was Ken Bruen who I read that did this and I loved it. Either introduced you to a writer or gave a bit of joy when you already know the quote.
     
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  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    In my experience, most novels geared toward adults do not use chapter titles. Based on that, I choose not to use them.
     
  8. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not currently, but I'm debating doing so after the piece is done.
     
  9. Rita M Gardner
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    Rita M Gardner Member

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    Is it a series, or two different books you're publishing? If it's a series, then I'd say be consistent, but if it's not,there's no real issue.
     
  10. Kinzvlle
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    Kinzvlle Active Member

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    I don`t use chapter titles and probably never will unless I'm going for something specific, (Ie: Humorous titles, or Day one if each chapter`s one day etc) The examples, almost use the titles as part of the writing style. Outside of that, I don`t remember chapter titles. I can go to my library pick out a book I`ve read a thousand times, and tell you the plot to a 5, and chances are I won`t remember a single chapter title. You can do interesting things with titles sure like using ominous or intriguing quotes/lines from the chapter as a title, or doing them in a tongue in cheek kind of way. Those types of titles can really stand out but I don`t see a point in titling chapters just for the sake of it but that's me.

    As for titleing from one book to the next. Two stand-alone books, it should be fine, and even in a series unless the titles really stand out, I probably wouldn`t even notice a switch. As for branding, I don`t see it as that big a thing. If the author does the titles in a certain way that stands out then I can see that being a brand thing but I don`t see people discussing a certain author talking about their titles more than the actual work.

    That all stems from my opinion and thoughts, so grain of salt ever readers different. I just don`t think it`s that big a thing to stress over, good writing should stand out more than what the title of the chapter is.
     
  11. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Two different books, two different genres.
     
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  12. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    I think naming chapters helps. As per HARRY POTTER
     
  13. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was wondering if it helps keep track of things in the e-book editions. All those hyperlinked numbers . . .
     
  14. Rita M Gardner
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    Rita M Gardner Member

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    Got it. Then I personally don't think consistency is necessary, but then again, it's your preference.
     
  15. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    I do during editing. While i work on the first draft i title i by number "1, 2, 3" but during editing, after writing the chapter I title it. idk how they want it for the manuscript but I like how it looks visually.
     
  16. Laurin Kelly
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    Laurin Kelly Active Member

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    I have enough trouble coming up with book titles! If I had to name every single chapter I'd never get anything completed for submission.
     
  17. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you're probably concerning yourself with something that doesn't matter. Chapter titles are so inconsequential I very much doubt anyone would notice, and if they did they'd care even less. HST used them in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and while I was aware they were there, I don't think I paid any attention to a single one of them because I was so engrossed in the story, such as it is.
     
  18. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I only recently added chapter titles to my novel, and you know what? I like them. I kept the titles short ...just a word or two. However, it not only helps me keep the content of each chapter straight, but looking at the progression of them throughout the novel, it's almost like a mini-synopsis. I see nothing wrong with them at all. I've always kind of liked them in books that I read.

    Unlike some other aspects of my novel's organisation, this isn't a red-line issue for me, though. If I were trying to get traditionally published, and if my agent or publisher wanted to remove the titles and just use the numbers, I'd say fine, go ahead. No big deal.
     
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  19. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    Forgive me for sounding a bit zen-like but I think the book will tell you what it needs. I've only done numbered chapters but have considered named chapters for another WIP; probably using character names and changing the POV from chapter to chapter between multiple characters. I would only name them when it would be helpful for the reader and not as some sort of 'gimmick'.

    The only consistent thing you need to do as an author is write well. :)
     
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  20. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Chapter titles are generally considered very old-fashioned now. I think a traditional publisher is likely to remove them in the editing process if you do submit a manuscript with them.

    While I'm writing, all my chapters are named--bland, few-word descriptions to remind me what happens in them. It helps me locate the right spot quickly when I'm editing. But they're only for my use, and I take them out before I send them to beta readers.
     
  21. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the titles add to the reader's experience, use them. If they don't add to the reader's experience, don't use them.

    The decision should be based on the reader, not the writer.
     
  22. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    I think it depends on the content of the book. Kurt Vonnegut made almost an art form of his chapter names in Mother Night and Cat's Cradle, as a way of teasing the reader about what the subject of the chapter was to be. In most of his later books, he doesn't use chapter names at all.
     

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