Chapters

by Tracy Porter
(Iowa)

Question: I stumbled upon your web site and have found it extremely informative!! Thank you!!


I'm a beginner writer who has finished (rough draft) a fantasy trilogy. If each book is roughly 80,000 words, does someone have advice on how many chapters it should contain?

The books were typed in Microsoft Word so how many pages would you expect to be in one chapter?

Thank you anyone with advice/tips. I can't seem to find info on this topic.

Answer: You can't count on your word processor to give you the best word count for your manuscript, but if you are following the standard format (see this article... http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/manuscript-format.html) you should have roughly 250 words per manuscript page.

How many pages that becomes in the printed book depends a lot on the book designer's choice of font, margin, headers, etc.

There is no set rule about chapter length. It depends to some extent on your writing style and how frequent the natural breaks arise in your story. Some guidelines...

* A chapter break should fall at a point where one event has been resolved in a way that leaves the reader wondering what will happen next as a result of what just happened (so they will want to read the next chapter).

* Like a short story, a chapter should be of a length that a person can read comfortably in one sitting.

* Bearing the above in mind, chapters will be shorter with children's and young adult books, especially ones written for reluctant readers.

* If you are uncertain about your readers, you can pick up some bestselling books in your genre and count the words in an average chapter. That will at least give you a sense of their expectations.

Finally, not all chapters need to be the same length. It depends on the story. So don't get too hung up on it.

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