by Sandra Carter
(Talbott, Tennessee, United States)

Hello, I'm writing a novel about a woman's life. I was wondering how to title my chapters.

Example: Chapter 1 Birth to Age 5
or Chapter 1 1960 to 1965

I want to write the chapters in 5 year spans, but don't know which would look better.
Thank for your time.

Answer: To be honest, I would reconsider whether this is the best way to organize your chapters.

To be a book worth reading, yours needs to cover the important events, the major turning points, in your character's life, and leave out the rest.

Most people's life does not conveniently include a major event within every five year period. By insisting on that framework, you may find yourself having a few chapters in which nothing interesting happens, or a chapter in which too many important things happen, so you can't cover each one properly.

I would suggest you first identify the major events in your character's life. Make sure the book has a solid dramatic structure. Then assign a chapter to each event.

If you want to use chapter titles, make the titles related to the events.

Best of luck.

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