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How do you establish the length of your chapters?

 
Simon
(@simon)
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How do you determine how long your chapters will be. I have in the past not cared about it. But i think it affects reader's experience. Though am not quite certain about this. I am basing it on my own experience. I hate loooooong chapters. But short chapter again sound like mere blog posts! 

What is your take?

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Topic starter Posted : 03/01/2021 9:50 am
Nickie85
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I think it depends on the size of the pages. The standard size (5 x 8 I think it is in inches), I would say each chapter should be about 5 to 10 pages in length. This really depends on the type of story though. I have read books where chapters were only a few pages long and others where chapters were well over 10 pages long.

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Posted : 05/01/2021 6:28 pm
Nancymac
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I think you want to make the story flow, so also keeping the chapter motivating so the reader can not put the book down!

Also, like the space of time and then let it rest, from an event like a journey, it is one day at a time.

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Posted : 06/01/2021 1:16 am
words.worth
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It would depend on the overall length of novel. Accordingly, you need to decide the size of a chapter. The length shouldn't matter too much till the time it is helping the story to progess further. However, you should avoid chapters that are too long and try to break them into two.

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Posted : 06/01/2021 6:05 pm
Elly
 Elly
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Posted by: @simon

How do you determine how long your chapters will be. I have in the past not cared about it. But i think it affects reader's experience. Though am not quite certain about this. I am basing it on my own experience. I hate loooooong chapters. But short chapter again sound like mere blog posts! 

What is your take?

Depends on the pacing. I noticed that Dan Brown's fiction tends to have chapters that are only two to four pages long in a pocketbook (that's maybe about 500 to 1,200 words per chapter). Other authors tend to have...longer...chapters, so I only mention Dan Brown's books because to me that regular shortness was remarkable, but it suited the "action-packed roller coaster ride" style. Some chapters in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (or was it the sequel, Through the Looking-Glass?) are only once sentence long, but the other chapters are longer, so it suits the pacing of the denouement. 

My own chapters hover around the 5000-word mark, 3500 words for down time scenes, up to 7000 for more action-packed scenes. 

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Posted : 28/01/2021 2:58 pm
Rittsu
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Sadly, there isn't a formula to establish the precise length of a chapter or how many words it should have. In most cases there is a word count limit based on the genre of book. A common way to help establish a baseline is to take what you believe will be the word count and divide it by how many chapters you want or think you'll have.

So, if we have a standard book of 60k words and decided that 12 chapters is enough we are looking at roughly 5k words per chapter. The more chapters, the less words per chapter. There are frankly just too many factors to say what a good length for a chapter is as the overall trim size, margins, point size, leading, and typeface can effect the look of the chapters—hence why I use word count as it is like the Planck Constant.

Overall, I'd just look at how you want the chapter to be and then edit it to a length that seems suitable for your target audience.

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Posted : 29/01/2021 5:17 am
Junamo
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I tend to write my books chapter free, or with very vague chapter definitions. Then when it is done I'll go through it and refine it, trying to keep most chapters similar in size, Although beginning and ending chapters are usually a bit shorter than middle chapters.

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Posted : 29/01/2021 6:21 am
I.write
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As long as a chapter is covering an idea/topic, the length shouldn't matter. The chain of events should be completed unless you want to create some suspense.

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Posted : 31/01/2021 4:40 pm
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