1. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 New Member

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    Words per chapter/novel?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by huskylover103, Jul 17, 2012.

    Guys, does it matter if some chapters are really long and some are really short?

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    The first chapter of my book is 7790 words. Then the second is only 2644...

    How many words are the average chapter. How many words are in an actual novel? Does it matter? I have a feeling I need to break up some of the long chapters, but that first chapter, I don't think I can. I may be able to but would it matter if I left it the way it is?
  2. louis1
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    louis1 Member

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    Novels should be between 80'000 and 12'000 depending on the genre. (sometime shorter or longer)
    Chapter length is something that you decide. It really doesn't matter, it's what you like or dislike. There are hundred pages chapters and chapters with only one sentence so there's no right or wrong.
    You might want to keep the length constant trough out the novel. But switching things up is a nice way to control the pace of your book.
    good luck
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not one whit.

    It does not matter.

    A FIRST novel must fall withing the publisher's guidelines, or it will not even be looked at. The typical range in most genres is 80,000 to 120,000 words, with a strong bias toward the 80,000 to 100,000 words range.

    Subsequent novels can be longer, once you have established a relationship with an agent and a publisher.
  4. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 New Member

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    Thanks guys! :)
  5. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 New Member

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    So, how many words fit onto the average size page of a published book? I have no idea how to tell how many pages my book is so far... lol
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Member Contributor

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    Count them. or count the number of words in ten lines, count the number of lines, and do the math. It's easy. I've done this many times with books I own and some have over 400 words per page and a few only about 250, depending on font size, margins, etc.

    Find a book on your shelf that has the approximate page layout you'd like your book to have and COUNT THE WORDS ON A PAGE. Do this for a few pages, including dialogue-heavy pages (which likely won't have as many words as average) and description-heavy pages (which will probably be pretty dense and have a high word count). Then guesstimate the average.

    Count the words. I'm sure you can do that yourself. Please don't ask us to count the words for you - it's kind of demeaning. :)
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you shouldn't be concerned about how many pages it is... no one in the industry goes by page count... only by word count...
  8. Jamie Senopole
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    Jamie Senopole Member

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    I see everything has been answered already, but I just wanted to add one thing. With the novels I read, I have noticed that the authors are consistently at 10 pgs/ chapter. But that means nothing if they don't end properly. You always want to end your chapters with some sort of conclusion, no matter how small, like an end of a scene. But the last lines should make the reader have to turn the page to see what's next, you know? Well, hope that made sense! :p
  9. Hettyblue
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    Hettyblue Member

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    One of the chapters in my book (so far) has only one paragraph and maybe 300 words. I doubt any others will be that short but don't think there is any unbreakable rules for the length of a chapter. It should be as long as it needs to be.
  10. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 New Member

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    Thanks everyone! :) Great tips! LOL, I don't know why I didn't think about counting the words myself... Ahh.. :/
  11. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    More important than word count is unity, to my mind.
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    hetty...
    300 words is an awful lot for a single paragraph... a solid block of text more than a page long is bound to be a bothersome read...
    1 person likes this.
  13. Ohlookabunny!
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    Ohlookabunny! New Member

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    Well, I started reading a book with a forty-page first chapter. It was marketed as "young adult paranormal", but written on a fourth grade level. I felt that it was entirely too long for that quality of book, although some young adult books might actually require forty-page chapters. Then again, I'll never forget the one-line chapter in As I Lay Dying: "My mother is a fish." I think a lot of it depends on your style and the voice of the character telling the story. Some writers like short chapters. A long chapter doesn't automatically make your book more professional. I abandoned reading the book with the forty-page chapter. All of those extra words did not add up to better quality.
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