1. Similyn
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    Similyn Member

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    Chapter Titles

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Similyn, Jan 11, 2012.

    Do you use/like chapter titles (i.e.~ To the Park instead of Chapter 1)? Why or why not? If you do, how do you choose what to name the chapter?

    When I read books, I don't really pay too much attention to them. If there are titles, I'll read them. If there aren't, it doesn't make much difference to me. The three fanfiction books I've written so far don't have titles, but I've wondered if I should use chapter titles when I start on my original novel.
     
  2. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    dont generally use chapter titles, i think theyre just a waste of time esp since as you said ppl dont really pay too much attention to them.
     
  3. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    I used to just do Chapter 1/Chapter 2/etc, but then I realized that because a lot of my stories I tended to publish on free websites in chunks (I might post the whole story in two parts... months apart from each other)... and it really makes it easier if they can navigate a story by chapter titles that roughly reflect what happens in the chapter. Because they won't remember where I left off if the chapters were just numbered.

    But otherwise there really isn't a need to name chapters. It's basically just whatever is your preference.
     
  4. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    I use roman numerals, it makes me feel classy.
     
  5. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I use chapter titles. They come extremely natural to me at some point while writing them.

    They are meant to be a little snippet into what is to come--but without giving anything away. It is generally something you understand right after you read it. At least, that is how I use them.

    But, there is nothing wrong with not using them. It is all preference I suppose. I have personally never thought less of a book without them. But, at the same time, I have thought more of books with them from time-to-time if they have really clever ones.
     
  6. Match
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    Match Member

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    Most of what I write is too short to really break it down into chapters, but on the occasion that I use them, I use the Chapter # - Title format. I just like it better. It gives me a chance to put some use to any titles I come up with (which I randomly do). Some of the well used titles are just ironic turn-arounds or references that play on the plot.

    Roman numerals are cool, though. xD
     
  7. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    This.

    My novel is over 100K words, but every chapter has a single word title that makes navigation easy if you read the chapter. If you haven't read the chapter, the title will only become apparent afterward, so as not to give anything away. Neither will my table of contents give away anything.
     
  8. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Personally I enjoy making up chapter titles and enjoy them in my books as well, as a little preview of the chapter. However they're not necessary per say. The only time I've come across title chapters which truly have a meaning is in Goerge.R.R.Martin's ASOIAF, especially the Theon chapters in ADWD. He tells a story just through the chapter names.
     
  9. Rosa
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    Rosa Member

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    I remember reading some books where the chapter titles added to the enjoyment of the stories.
     
  10. TheIllustratedMan
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    TheIllustratedMan Active Member

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    They used to name chapters like this:

    "Chapter 1, in which Henry finds an egg, and Louisa tries to steal it."

    Kind of a little summary of the action. You have no idea who Henry and Louisa are, but you know that they're going to tussle over an egg. For some reason.

    I kind of like that, but you know, to each his own and all. Just do whatever comes naturally to you. If you get published, the publisher might futz with it, but otherwise, don't worry about it.
     
  11. bassbonediva
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    bassbonediva New Member

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    Depends on what I'm writing, really. My main novel that I'm working on, I use chapter titles. Just one word that describes kind of what the chapter is about. But then, it goes with the theme of how the book is broken down (it's eventually going to be a trilogy, with each book in the trilogy consituting a volume...each volume is broken down into various books [the first volume has three books, the second volume has two books and the third volume is a single book]...each book has a one word title, e.g. "Traitor" for the second book of the first volume). With the novel I started writing for NaNoWriMo last year, I just used numbered chapters.

    I don't really care either way if a chapter is titled or not when I'm reading a book, but sometimes it does add to the enjoyment of the book, as has been previously stated. I love the old style of naming/describing chapters like TheIllustratedMan pointed out. I think that way of doing it is...quaint.
     
  12. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I might be the sole voice of opposition here, but...

    ...I think chapter titles are old fashioned. I enjoy them in the classics, because they add to the 'period flavour' of the book, but in a modern novel I just think they're unnecessary and even, dare I say it, pretentious. I don't really care how clever a chapter title is, it just doesn't add anything to the book, IMO.

    I used to come up with chapter titles for my fanfiction, for pretty much the same reason listed above - it helped people remember where they were up to when it had been a while in between posts, and summarised the previous chapters at a glance. This is helpful in a serial. But I hated having to come up with titles for every damn chapter - sometimes they were good, but sometimes they were forced or just really unimaginative.

    But maybe I'm just bad at coming up with titles - after all, my current WIP is still untitled :D
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you're not alone, kalli... it's definitely not advisable for adult fiction, is often done in YA...
     
  14. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    This!
     
  15. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    It is good that I am writing a YA series then. :p
     
  16. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    And it's good that I think my chapter titles suit my suspense fiction and I won't allow myself to be swayed from using them. :D
     
  17. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    /highfive
     
  18. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've used them at times. Not a problem to my mind.
     
  19. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    I use roman numerals & chapter titles.

    Example:

    I. To the Park
     
  20. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    No reason why you can't use them in your draft, just know that if you intend to publish an agent or editor may well decide they don't work.
     

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