Chapter Lengths

by Liz K
(Surrey, B.C. Canada)

Questoin: What is the best length for chapters, specifically in Historical Fiction?


Answer: Unless you're writing for children (in which case, shorter chapters are better) or for a series that has rigid rules (such as some romance series) it's really up to you.

Your chapter breaks should occur at logical points in the story, such as at an important change in POV character, a major break in time or location, or after an important signpost or milestone in the plot.

But there are no hard and fast rules, and some authors have applied a lot of creativity in designing chapter breaks.

In fact, one of the best answers I ever heard to this question (which does get asked a lot) is that a chapter should be "as long as it needs to be." To that, I might add, "and no longer."

To know how long a chapter needs to be, you have to trust your feeling. A chapter either feels complete, or it does not. Pay attention to your feelings as you read over your work, and even if you haven't created chapter breaks so far, you will sense that there are places where one episode, sequence, scene, event, etc. has come to an end and a new one is beginning.

Those are the points where chapter breaks go.

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