1. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    (How) do you name your chapters?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tesgah, Mar 6, 2011.

    I've just finished my very first chapter as a writer, and I stumbled upon a slightly annoying problem. I have absolutely no idea what I should name it. It's a complete blank, everything I come up with sounds impressively retarded.

    So my questions to you are; how do you come up with names for your chapters? Are they short, like a word or two, or perhaps you name your chapters with long sentences? Do they foreshadow what happens in the chapter, or are they just general pointings at the theme? Maybe you don't name your chapters at all, merely numbering them.

    Let me know:)
     
  2. Ged
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    Ged Senior Member

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    I don't. I just leave them "Chapter 1" and "Chapter 2" and suchlike.
     
  3. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    I tend to keep them short. No more than six words altogether. And sometimes I choose to forshadow the events about to take place, but othertimes not. It's a natural process for me. A title pops into my head and I use it.

    But if you do want to keep in line for yourself, just decide on whether to drop a clue about what's to come or even use a line of dialogue from one of your characters. I'm a fan of both.

    Either way, don't let the page swallow you up :D It'll come to you. If not now, later on.
     
  4. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    I do that, Chapter One, Two... unless you want to find something significant in the chapter itself and name it that? Like they do for films. *Black Hawk Down was named so, due to the fact that a Black Hawk helicopter had been shot down* There are more examples... But I'd leave it as Chapter One... Two... etc.
     
  5. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I name them for easy reference when I work on them.

    "The ninja chapter"
    "Went to the trainstation"
    "PORN! And frogs."

    The point of there names is simple, I should at a glance find the right chapter.

    In the end, i might gove them "real" names or just a chapter number.
     
  6. FictionAddict
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    FictionAddict Senior Member

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    That ^ is what I do too, at first. Later on, when the novel is developed and I know what I want to convey in each one of them, I choose short titles that glimpses at the theme of the chapter.

    My advice for you is to keep writing. When you get the novel finished, you'll edit it and decide one chapter might not be needed, or that you should turn two of them into one. In such an early stage, I wouldn't worry about this particular issue.
     
  7. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I usually just number the chapters, but in some stories I like to name them. In one story, all chapters have an ending plot line along with the main plot line, and in that case it makes sense to name the chapters. I tend to go for one or two word titles. Some examples from my work, if you care :p
    "No Blood" "Dead You" "Witch" "Demons"
    I try to go for vague forshadowing.

    Og la akkurat merke til det, jeg er ikke den eneste Norske her! Yay :)
    (Sikkert noen andre her og)
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just number my chapters. Once i was thinking about giving the chapters names from different songs from one of my favourite artists, because there were lots of songtitles that described the feeling of the chapter (actually i could find a song for almost each and everyone that fitted perfectly) but i gave that up , hehe. I still wonder if anyone would have made the conection... ;)

    En norrman med, vad kul! :) Vilka är de andra?
     
  9. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tesgah som starta denne threaden (norskifisering av engelske ord fungerer aldri). Har sett at det er mange svensker her, men har enda ikke sett en annen nordmann før Tesgah.

    (and talking about our own thing in a different language is probably not allowed... is it?)
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    With most of them I have just numbered them - with my current book Socrates' Children I am trying to use quotes from the historical characters in my book.
     
  11. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    I think correct naming of chapter titles depend on the story.

    My current thriller has an important time line, and I have each chapter titled as Place + Date (E.g., Schiphol Airport, Netherlands, June 2, 2003)

    Other novels can have a theme, and I can imagine something like a simple number with a relevant quote as a kind of subtitle.
    (E.g., "A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit." -
    Thomas Jefferson)

    Or simply "Chapter #" as others suggested.

    Scenes within a chapter I have simply marked with an asterisk [*] btw.
     
  12. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    Fretting over what to name a piece or a chapter, an exercise that wastes time ....use a keyword or 2 as reference to yourself and solider foward writing
     
  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I dont know, but I dont wanna be rude so i will limit my "foreign language" and stick to english from now on. I agree, sometimes we need the english word for speaking our own language well, isnt that weird? there really should be a "scandinavian" word for those things :) i havent seen many swedes (tihi) around here, just one...
     
  14. Douglas Rumbaugh
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    Douglas Rumbaugh Member

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    I like to name them in one word that describes a major shift in the chapter, just like I name my books. Words like Rebirth, Revelation, things that are very descriptive, but still mysterious, or proper nouns like Ares (a chapter in Transcendence Contact when Taney first sees the incomplete Ares class Battleship) or Aelumanuos (the chapter when the Empire Builders [known to themselves as Aelumanuos] are first revealed). You could call it unoriginal, but I think that the chapter names should never be more than two words long, and only ever that long if completely necessary. That is my view on it anyway.
     
  15. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I simply number my chapters...Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc.

    If you want to name/title chapters, it's not a problem. Don't fret over it as you write them. If one strikes you, great. If not, when you revise, you'll have a better idea of where the novel has gone, and will be able to devise some sort of theme or consistency then, if that's what you're shooting for. In the end, there should be a reason for naming the chapters--if they're named.
     
  16. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    i can imagine proper naming of chapters is more fun and more effectful if you write fantasy, mystery, horror or even romance... as for myself i think it wouldnt fit the story im writing.
     
  17. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I just make them up before I even write that chapter. That way, I don't need to worry about it later ^^
     
  18. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    Do what feels right to you, but don't waste too much effort worrying about it. Chapter names won't make-or-break your book.
     
  19. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    (Hello fellow Scandinavians :D)

    Many different preferences I see. I guess it would be best to do as some said, write the book first, edit it like crazy, then name the chapters when the book is done. Personally I prefer books with named chapter, but as Terry D noted, chapter names don't make or break a book. They can, however, be quite funny/interesting/cool :rolleyes:
     
  20. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't normally name them.
     
  21. MindscrewMin
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    MindscrewMin New Member

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    I name them something relevant if a name occurs to me; if none does I just keep the chapters numbered. In my latest work, Godspeed, I had so much going on in each chapter that one name couldn't possibly cover it all, so I just left them numbered. Things were much more encapsulated in Fallen from Disgrace and the Puppetmasters series, though, so I named those chapters.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if it's adult fiction, just number them... chapter titles are usually only for the younger end of YA...
     
  23. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I normally tittle my chapter based on the central conflict of that chapter. But I don't name it until I'm done with the chapter. In most cases, I don't name them unless it is necessarily.
     
  24. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't normally label them with more than Chapter 1 etc, or even just a single star if I'm rushing through the story and want to get it all out without worrying about where the parts begin and end, but I had the most fun with my chapter titles in one silly young adult thing I wrote... just grabbing some of them off my top secret backup-blog. :p

    2. Zombie! (the musical)

    [show] - [top]8. "You didn't deserve an ice cream anyway."

    [show] - [top]12. She cries in the rain 'cause she's an emo kid, of course.

    [show] - [top]13. "lol wut?"

    [show] - [top]14. Get To It Like Spaghetti

    [show] - [top]16. Cinderella and the Glass Flip-Flop

    [show] - [top]20. Maybe they're midget Frenchmen?

    [show] - [top]23. None of this Explains the Turtles

    [show] - [top]31. "So that's when Spring comes early, huh?"

    [show] - [top]41. Important Life Lesson, That


    Funnily enough, the ones in quote tags are lines which never appeared in the novel, while "Get to it like Spaghetti" and the midget Frenchmen thing were, but being more convention chapter titles, don't get quote marks because I'm being serious. :p The one in quotations are "replies" to the chapter, sometimes in quite an obscure way. One of them is a very rude joke which is answered in the chapter title before it's posed, so it's up to the reader to work it out if they were wondering what the answer to the joke was. :p Some of them were more serious, but I'm just showing the ridiculousness of the chapter titles used in what most people consider my finest work. :p
     
  25. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Not sure how to say it but mine are just whatever that chapter is saying or means to me. Example: I have a chapter that was dealing 'Now what do I do?' Si the Chapter title is 'Now What?'

    I don't have a theory. I just go with whatever says that chapter is about for me. I change them too. I start with a chapter name before I write the chapter because I have an idea of generally what I'm going to write in the chapter. I have decided in the middle of a chapter that I can be better served by changing it to something else.

    So, no real theory other than it's just gotta feel right...
     

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