1. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    Chapter Titles

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by heyharris1, Oct 2, 2007.

    is there a writer's code somewhere that says chapter's have to have a title or could you just write, lets say chapter 6 an leave it at that. Just curious.
    jim
     
  2. DavidGil
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    DavidGil Senior Member

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    No code anywhere.

    Some are written just as Chapter 1 like my work.

    Others are wrote with Chapter 1: A dawning light (just as an example)

    And some like Martin's work are simply called: Bran

    Referring to the character's name the perspective is from. (granted that is the only time I've seen chapter titles done like that.) So really, whatever works.
     
  3. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    thank you for the info,
     
  4. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Terry Pratchett doesn't even have chapters. Just three little stars marking a new part.
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    No code. Whatever works best for the individual work or author style.

    One can always give titles to chapters and remove them if they don't work (or the other way around). Although it's not the question here, certainly such a concern isn't worth delaying the writing of chapters until the right titles are determined.

    Terry
     
  6. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    ok i was just curious, cause the title i gave to chapter 5 of my novel, i though gave away to much information about what was going to happen.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    most novels don't usually have chapter titles, unless they're for the YA market...

    i have to ask... why do you stick an apostrophe in there before the 's' when forming plurals?... so many new writers do that and i can't for the life of me figure out why... are schools so lacking in teaching the basics of english these days, or what?...

    love and puzzled hugs, maia
     
  8. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    actually i graduated in 1988, I dont know why i do that. Im actually a welder by trade. How i work, nobody cares how you write or talk, as long as you can made what is required by the print.Thats going to be my biggest struggle. the whole novel is in my head, just puting it correctly on paper.
     
  9. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    What type of chapter titles do you all like best?

    Numbers- Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, etc...
    Names of POV- Jimmy, Bob, Jessica, etc...
    Titles- A Dark Secret, Lost in the Woods, A Letter, etc...

    For example, my book has different POV characters. Should I make each title the name of the character, or what? What do you all think?
     
  10. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Numbers with titles, for example:


    ---- 2 ----
    Riddles in the Dark
     
  11. Last1Left
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    Last1Left Active Member

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    I'd agree with Marcelo, that's how most books do it. Anyways, it would be pretty easy to tell from who's point of view the chapter is coming from, right? So titling it after that character would be a waste of time. Besides, wouldn't you end up with same title for multiple chapters? Unless you're telling this story from a million people's perspective.
     
  12. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hey! That's chapter five.
     
  13. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    just numbers
     
  14. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    Well, that is what my favorite series (A Song of Ice and Fire) does, and there's about 12 characters per book, but they do end up with many chapters with the same name.
     
  15. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like names with numbers, or just numbers. Names on their own are just confusing.
     
  16. then she said
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    then she said New Member

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    roman numerals.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    novels for adults don't usually have titles [and shouldn't, imo]... just numbers... the style of the numbersused will usually be decided by the publisher's book stylist, not the author...

    however, if this is a book for the YA market, then perhaps titles would be warranted... if you do use them for a YA novel, make sure they're brief/pithy/catchy and reflect the content of the chapter...
     
  18. Still Life
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    Still Life Active Member

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    I've recently read Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assasin , and Michael Chabon's Gentleman of the Road, which uses titles for each chapter. They worked out well and reflecting back on it, the story wouldn't have been the same without them.

    I think that authors should only use it when necessary. In these two cases, I feel they made the right decision.

    Oh, and numbers for me.
     
  19. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I use chapter numbers and titles, sometimes with a pattern.
    Example:
    Chapter 1 : Symphony of the Dawn
    Chapter 2 : Song of the Noon
    Chapter 3 : The Evening's Recital
     
  20. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    Most of the books I read (and write) tend to go with the usual chapter numbers. I sometimes find it convenient when there's also a character name beneath the chapter number,if it's a book where they switch POV's alot. Helps me know what POV or location to expect next. I wouldn't call it necessary though, since scanning the opening sentences will tell me that anyway.

    I'm undecided about chapter titles. Sometimes they draw me in, other times they annoy me by hinting what's going to happen in the next chapter, when I don't wanna know until I read it.

    Some of this stuff can also be affected a little by the genre you're writing. For example, Christian romance novels (which I read a lot of when I was a teenager) are pretty big on chapter titles. These days, I read fantasy and paranormal almost exclusively and they don't use that kind of device as much. I believe noting a change of location or the year (if a lot of time has passed since the last chapter) is fairly common in all genres though.
     
  21. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Weird, its like I knew about this that's why my chapter titles don't reveal a thing: they're either too ambiguous or is something random you don't know about until you've read a few chapters.
     
  22. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    Really, it depends on the story. I've done it all, lol. I've done numbered chapters, titled chapters, titled numbered chapters, lettered chapters, even one kooky story with symbolized titled chapters, heh. Usually I do numbered or titled numbered.

    I also sometimes doom myself by stubbornly deciding on a chapter title BEFORE actually writing the chapter, lol. I'll think randomly, "oooh, this is a good title for a chapter... I'm using that no matter what!" and then I'll finally write the chapter, get to the end of it, and realize.... um, that title makes absolutely no sense with the way the chapter ended up going, lol.
     
  23. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I prefer numbers with titles. I don't see why titles shouldn't be used in any books higher than YA--I see them in adult-oriented books all the time--but that's just my opinion. :/ I usually use numbers and titles, though I did have one novel where I didn't use titles. I thought it was kind of bland without them so maybe the rewrite will get titles. Titles titles titles!

    Titling each chapter after the POV character wouldn't work for me because I tend to use more than one POV per chapter, BUT, there was one time when I started a story where each chapter was from only one POV, and I did entitle each chapter after the POV character. The only issue is, there's more than one chapter with the same name, though I guess this is where numbers in addition to titles could come in. I think I only did this because I was being kind of lazy. Meh.

    I'd just go with whatever you think looks best for your story. :)
     
  24. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I feel that titling chapters works better for books with a child to young adult target audience. As books are targeted more to an adult audience, I'd prefer not to hand out a road map to what's about to happen.

    Youth-oriented fiction is more likely to be published with a Table of Contents, truly giving a roadmap, however cryptic, to the events abouty to unfold.

    So I generally favor simple numbers for titles.

    HOWEVER, whe writing the book, the exact sequence of chapters may not be fully determined, or chapters may be sp;it, deleted, or new ones inserted.

    I use a separate document file for each chapter while developing the story, so these chapters have descriptive names rather than numbers until the chapters are collected into their "final sequence. At that point I will use automatic numbering, and the working chapter titles will remain my organizational secret.
     
  25. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I disagree with this. Novels such as The Magic Mountain and The Brothers Karamazov have titles for their chapters and they are in no way children/young adult books.

    I tend to like titles for novels, but numbers are good too IMO.
     

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