Chapter Length

by Laurie

Glen,

So far, the chapters in my manuscript range from 2,000 to 3,500 words. Is this acceptable for a fiction manuscript? Can chapters be shorter or longer than this?

Also, concerning word count for each page; I am typing my manuscript according to your guidelines, which gives me 250 words per page. However, not all pages are a full page, like the first page of a chapter, and often the last page of a chapter. Are these pages still considered 250 words?

Thanks so much!

Response: Chapter length really depends on your audience and your style. Shorter chapters (in the range you suggest) are more essential for children's fiction, but some writers for adults also write short chapters.

Don't worry about the first and last pages of a chapter not being a full page. They still count the same when estimating word counts. Editors and publishers know all about these issues and are quite used to working with them. (These pages are often not full pages in a printed book either, but they still take up the same amount of paper.)

Honestly, these are minor issues in the grand scheme of things. Don't worry about them. Put your attention on writing the best story you can - on creating fascinating characters, a moving plot, an intriguing narrative voice, and a flawless prose style. These are what really count.

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