What constitutes as a Chapter?

by Samuel
(Caldwell, id)

Question: You mentioned that some scenes will be part of a chapter while other scenes will be a chapter itself. So i want to know what a chapter is. Is it a length thing or a event thing, and what is a good ending point and then starting point for them.


Answer: Chapter length is both an event thing and a length thing.

Like a short story, a chapter should be a length that can be comfortably read in one sitting -- just before bed, or on the subway, etc. This varies with your readership. Children's book need shorter chapters than average, and so do certain light reads for adults.

At the same time, you don't want to end a chapter abruptly. You want find a good place in the narrative to insert a chapter break.

A good place would be when one event has concluded and the reader is wondering what will happen next as a result of what just happened. You want to leave them hungry for more. In some cases, you can also end a chapter on a cliff hanger, after a shocking revelation, or with a character making a key decision.

If you think more in terms of scenes than events, then any time there is a jump in time or to a new setting, that could be a good place for a chapter break. A shift to a different point of view character would be another good place.

Some events or scenes, however, are too short to fill a chapter on their own. So it may be better to combine two shorter events into one chapter.

Comments for What constitutes as a Chapter?

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Apr 14, 2018
Great tips
by: Cary

Hi,
these are some great tips. Thanks for sharing. Love your site. talk soon
Cary

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