1. Thank you all for your patience with our technical errors. We think we've fixed it, but please do report anything that's not working right, by posting on the 'minor bugs' thread in Support and Feedback, which can be found here.
    Dismiss Notice
  1. Zombocalypse

    Zombocalypse Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    8

    How many words per chapter?

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Zombocalypse, Oct 22, 2016.

    How many words per chapter should a fantasy novel have?

    I can only manage 1000 per chapter right now. I wonder if that's publishable.
     
  2. Lyrical

    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    262
    Bleh, I'm struggling with this myself. My story is split into 3 parts. Part 1 has chapters of about 4,000-6,000 words. Part 2 has tiny chapters of about 2,000 words. Trying to figure out what to do with this. Maybe just split the Part 1 chapters in half?

    I'm beta-reading a novel right now that has very short chapters, only one scene for each. It's YA, though, so I feel it's okay. As I understand it, High Fantasy tends to be pretty wordy and High Fantasy publishers want to see length. Not sure though. I'm curious to see what others say about this.
     
  3. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2016
    Messages:
    575
    Likes Received:
    700
    Well, as a quick basis for comparison, if you've got a 100,000 page manuscript with 25 chapters, that leaves 4000 words per chapter. But I think the answer is less of a "rule" than the following: everything in a novel should be as long as it needs to be.

    Every aspect should make its point, and no more. A novel, fantasy or otherwise, is a contrived piece of work; a well oiled machine. Everything should work exactly as intended and try to do no more. That goes for characters, exposition, and maybe even chapter length.

    Thats my opinion on it at least!
     
  4. froboy69

    froboy69 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2016
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    9
    As many as you need; personally, I always thought of how many pages rather than words was needed in a chapter. It really depends on how significant or attention is needed for a particular part within the story. Hell I've seen some chapters in different books be as long as 2-3 pages just because a particular event needed it.

    But you can can balance it out like the others in this thread have suggested.
     
  5. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    10,212
    Location:
    London, UK
    2,187. No more, no less.
     
    Homer Potvin, izzybot and Raven484 like this.
  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,854
    Likes Received:
    11,676
    How are you deciding where to make your chapter breaks? Are you doing one scene per chapter? That's not mandatory, obviously, so if you want your chapters to be longer you could just put more scenes into each one.
     
  7. Johncrawfordz

    Johncrawfordz Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    15
    I put my chapters based on organizing the events & plot and theme of those chapters. Maybe If I use different characters, i would put different chapters.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Garou420

    Garou420 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2016
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Whenever time passes, a scene or perspective changes, etc. A chapter doesn't have to be a set length; it could be a paragraph or two long, if that's what the pacing of your story calls for. Does it feel right? Then it's probably the "right" length.
     
  9. Freddy van Zandt

    Freddy van Zandt New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2017
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    I agree with the rest here. I usually go by page count, not word, but in what is for me a relatively short manuscript I've completed recently (89k words, 300 pages, 18 chapters), I had some chapters which ranged five pages, ten pages... and two behemoths that were 42 and 38 pages.

    Organize your mind more or less like this: a section finishes an action, a chapter finishes a full thought, a part (if you're using them) finishes a story arc, and a novel brings the end of the event it all lead up to.
     
  10. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    1,066
    Likes Received:
    1,675
    Location:
    Texas
    I've done a little Googling on this and here are the general guidelines I've found: On average, a chapter is about 10 pages, give or take. 10 pages of printed novel equals around 250-300 words per page. So per chapter, 2500-3000 words. But this is all approximate, and if you have a chapter that ends on a cliffhanger at page 6, why not? It's all about the pacing of your story.
     
  11. G.A. Kainne

    G.A. Kainne Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    10
    Honestly in the end it's completely up to you... I've seen books with 5 page chapters and books with 30 page chapters. So long as you've shown what you wanted to in that passage your work is complete. You choose the length and the end point so it really does not matter much. Rewrites tend to lengthen the chapters as well.
     
  12. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    244
    I'm not really the type to end a chapter in the middle of a scene.
    There's a few different ways I like to do my chapters
    My favorite- The chapter ends when the scene ends.
    2nd favorite- Chapters relate to a goal/plot point
    3rd favorite- Chapters represent a change of location.

    I hate the idea of thinking of it as page length. Hell... I've seen a 2 page chapter before, and it worked.

    Chapters are stopping points, but also dividers. Where do you want your readers to be able to pause and pick up again from?
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice