1. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Too worried about maintaining consistency in chapter word count..

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Youniquee, Jan 14, 2011.

    So I'm on the 4th chapter of my novel. I feel like I keep adding useless things just so my chapter can be 5,000 or longer (Most of my previous chapters are this word count)
    Does it even matter if one of your chapters are 5,000+ and another is 2,000?
    This is only a connecting chapter anyway..
    Thank you.
     
  2. PurpleCandle
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    PurpleCandle Senior Member

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    No, it does not matter. Of course, if your book is titled 5,000 Word Chapters Inside you may have to stick with 5,000 words per chapter.
     
  3. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    A chapter can be as short as 1 word or as long as 10k words. They can also be much much longer then 10k.

    When I am reading a book I am not really paying attention to something like words per chapter. The only time I ever pay attention to how long a chapter is is when I am about to quit and I want to know how much longer before the next chapter.
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Argh... Write what feels right, not to some random standard you set yourself because it sounds good. My chapters wobble between 10 lines and 10,000 words in the same novel. If the story asks it, write it. Don't cram filler content EVER, or cut down because you feel something's "too long". *shudders*
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    It doesn't matter. Don't focus on it. Otherwise you'll end up rushing chapters that have long events and stretching out chapters that should be snappier.
     
  6. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Well if you feel you're adding useless information then no. Chapters don't have to consistently be the same word count long. Readers aren't going to be paying attention to details like that, it's what's on the page that counts. I'll tell you there's no way my chapters are consistent, so stop worry and continue writing :)
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    My chapters vary I stop when it is done. I have some at 5000, one is less than 900 words it is a powerful little scene about my MCs brother and I think to add to it would ruin the impact.
     
  8. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Thanks people, you have put my back on track...:D Won't worry any more.

    Really random question now though..How would you explain the sound effect of camera shutter? (Y'know, when it takes the picture)
    'Ching?'....'Chhukuh?' I'm no good at this!
    By the way, this MC has never heard a camera before..soo yeah xD
    Thanks again?
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    My little digital camera that I use when out with friends: "Eeeeee....CH."

    Big chunky work camera: "KN...SHHH"

    hope I helped lol
     
  10. Fiona
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    Fiona Member

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    Just focus on your story, on the quality of your writing. Any reader would prefer a super-short chapter that is good to read than a huge long epic that feels laboured and unneccessary.
     
  11. JetMasta
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    JetMasta Member

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    I recentlly struggled a bit with this aswell. But as I started to write more and more, I realised all of what these others knew. It doesnt matter. I now feel good about finishing a chapter off, instead of 'OH MY GOD! Did I write enough or too much?'
     
  12. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    A thought will complete itself in whatever number of words it takes. Finish a thought completely and the number of word be what they are.
     
  13. vanarie
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    vanarie Senior Member

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    Read a Dan Brown novel. He makes his chapter from 1 page to 20, depending on how he is moving the story along. He is also great a setting a hook at the beginning of a chapter and another at the end.
     
  14. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't worry. There are all kinds of chapter lengths out there.

    Just keep writing. :)
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you don't have to [and shouldn't] write the phonetic spelling of the shutter's clicking sound... just say that it does and show what the result is... such as if a character is alerted to someone watching him/her by hearing the sound...
     
  16. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I don't know what I could write then..Because my character doesn't know what a camera is and he wouldn't have known it means a picture had been taken.

    By the way, thank you everyone!
     
  17. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know how it feels to be adding useless things to get to the 5K. You might end up purging those during editing and replacing it with meaningful story. :D
     
  18. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Chapter lengths can vary, but if your problem is finding material to fill a novel, then you need to revisit your characters' motives and the journey they're going to make. Perhaps you need to think up new subplots, bring in new twists and turns, and expand your themes and ideas altogether. You won't have a problem filling space if you've covered all bases. It sounds like your novel idea, on the whole, is underdeveloped.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you can still just say he heard a 'clicking sound' or whatever, without writing the actual sound effect...
     
  20. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    Seems you've already got the first issue covered, that it's okay--and normal--to vary chapter lengths.

    I agree with mammamaia on the second issue: don't write the phonetic sound of the camera shutter. One exception, I suppose, is in very young children's books sometimes they'll imitate the sound of something but overall, bad idea.

    Consider:

    What does that particular camera sound like? Different types of cameras have different sounds.

    What is his reaction to it? Scared, intrigued, etc.

    What is something he is already familiar with, that it can be compared to?

    Say he's from a jungle:

    He pressed the button and snapped his hand away. The device made a whirring sound, like a strange little bird.

    Take care,

    //Rainy
     
  21. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It seems to me that even if word count per chapter _did_ matter, that would be used to determine where to make the chapter breaks, rather than to determine the number of words alotted to each plot event. I'm not saying that you cut off the chapter in the middle of a character speaking or anything, but gently forcing a break, or knitting an in-chapter transition between two events, seems better than either stretching or squishing the narrative.

    ChickenFreak
     

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