(Lakeport, California US)
Question: I would like to know what is acceptable when writing a book for chapter length. My book is about Novella length. I have some chapters that are less than one page long I have an instance where there are two chapters on one page. I think my average is 1 1/2-3 chapters every three or so pages. Am I making a mistake when figuring what my chapter length should be? When writing, it feels right, but when reading all of the how-to's in book writing, it doesn't seem to be the average. It appears that most books have a few pages or more per chapter. Easily put, is this too short?
There are no hard rules about chapter length. Children's books generally have shorter chapters than adult books, to seem less daunting to reluctant readers. But for adult books, it's largely a question of individual writers' styles.
Some authors write tersely, with one event per chapter and not a lot of description. Other writers include two or more events per chapter with more preamble and follow-up. And some writers vary their chapter length.
That said, it sounds like your chapters are extremely short in comparison to most. As with short stories, a chapter can be anywhere from 1,000 to 15,000 words. If you are double-spacing your manuscript, that would be between 4 and 60 pages. A one page chapter is something you could have occasionally, but if all your chapters are that short, the book would either be very short or it would have a huge number of chapters. The rhythm would be rather staccato. You would also have a lot of blank space to mark chapter breaks (which is more costly).
Some other guidelines for chapter length are...
1. A chapter should be a length that can be comfortably read in one sitting.
2. A chapter should contain at least one event -- that is, a significant change or development in the story that affects everything going forward.
3. A chapter should leave the reader wanting to know what will happen next as a result of what just happened.
Best of luck.