1. MeWriter
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    MeWriter Member

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    Words per chapter

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by MeWriter, Mar 18, 2013.

    So, I was wondering how many words per chapter is enough. Even thought I read that it is not very important how many words are in a one chapter, I still want to see what kind of opinion have other writers.

    Have fun! :)
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    It should be as long and short as it needs to be...depending on the purpose and what happens. Although, I do try keep mine from 3,000 to 6,000ish.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    When I bother with chapters, they tend to be very long, about 8,000 to 11,000 words. The first draft of my novel only has eight chapters. There are several scenes in each chapter. That's just the way it seems to organize itself in my head.

    I've seen novels with very short chapters. I mentioned in another thread that Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol has a chapter with only 56 words.
     
  4. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    How long is a piece of string? It depends on how long your scenes are, major story breaks, changes in settings, characters - the list is endless.

    Why not check out authors of your genre and start to look at averages - just for an idea as to how others are writing. The problem is that you don't want to fit and inhibit your tale to a predetermined and arbitrary chapter length, rather chapters will come more naturally depending on the story. Allow the tale to guide the chapters.

    I've just finished a thriller - first chapter (350 words/page) nine pages, second chapter nineteen pages, third chapter 25 pages, fourth chapter eleven pages etc.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    james patterson annoys me so much with his 2-page chapters that i've stopped reading his books...

    short of that [pun not intended], i'd say there's no right or wrong length for chapters...
     
  6. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    all of my chapters bar one are about 6000 words - the odd one out is just under 3000 words and for some reason it bugs me...
     
  7. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    My current work is running 2000-3000 words/chapter, for young-adult.

    It varies hugely - I've had good reads that have had 4-5 pages per chapter and good reads that have had 30-45 pages per chapter. And I'm a fan of Terry Pratchett's work, and he doesn't use chapters at all in most of his books.

    So, whatever works for your story and style of writing.
     
  8. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    do whats comfortable for you, personally, i dont use chapters, it breaks up the dynamic of how i write, i like to flow even if im placing flashbacks in between normal sections...
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how can you write a novel without chapters?... is there never a 'break' to allow readers good places to stop for lunch or a pit stop?
     
  10. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    See, I, personally, actually prefer shorter chapters in most of my work. But I think that's primarily because I reach a point where I find a "cliff-hanger" type sentence and think "Let's screw with the reader and stop the chapter here." Obviously, I know they can keep reading, but for me, things just seem to hit a bigger impact when they're ended at a certain point and then picked back up in the next chapter.
     
  11. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    My chapters are from 2000-4000 words, though some are longer and some are much shorter. I have 5 PoV characters, so I can't imagine not having chapters to make the change in pov clear.
     

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