Chapter Resolutions in Historical Novel Writing

by Betty K

Question: In a historical fiction novel, does every chapter have to end with a page-turner, or can some chapters have resolution?

Answer: The ultimate resolution is what happens on the last page of the book. The last part of the book will resolve the various throughlines and subplots.

Prior to that, every "resolution" is really just a change in direction. What you call a page-turner is a matter of emphasis: how much you choose to underscore the urgency or suspense leading into that new direction.

You're correct that not every chapter has to end with an event such as opening a door and finding a monster, stepping off a cliff, or being shot - though an event like that will certainly give a character a new purpose and direction.

Sometimes the new direction can be emotional. It can be a change in a relationship, or the revelation of a piece of information that affects a character internally. It can be the arrival at a decision or a new idea about something that will affect what the characters do next.

That's particularly true if you are writing a more character or decision-driven story where what's happening inside the main character's head holds more focus than the external plot.

We tend to put chapter breaks after these resolutions, these changes in direction, because doing so underscores the end of one thing and the start of something new.

Comments for Chapter Resolutions in Historical Novel Writing

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Mar 26, 2012
Thank you
by: Betty K Canada

Thank you so much for clarifying that for me. I love these helpful hints appearing on my computer each day. Makes me want to write more.

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