View Full Version : Short Chapters
June 20th, 2006, 11:15 AM
Is there anything wrong with having many short chapters, instead of a few longer ones? I'm talking about (in my case) about one every two 8-1/2 by 11 sheets of paper.
June 20th, 2006, 11:24 AM
I suppose not, assuming it flows well. Take a look at Dan Brown; it worked for him. I don't know, might as well wait for someone like crazy KatG to offer a better repy and explanation. ;)
Edit: In my experience, well-written short chapters work well for thrillers, as you are probably already understand…
June 20th, 2006, 06:36 PM
Actually, Nan, that tends to be length of my chapters as well. It's something that's always worried me since I already know that I have a bad habit of rushing the story along.
June 20th, 2006, 07:18 PM
Crazy KatG -- when did I pick up that tag? :)
There is no right or wrong when it comes to chapter length. However, if you are going short, there are some things to keep in mind:
1) Short chapters can accidentally slow pacing. Because there are so many breaks from short chapters, the reader can feel that a lot of narrative time is passing, without very much having happened in the story yet, which then makes the unfolding of the story seem slow, even though it isn't.
2) If your chapters are two pages long, double-spaced, (or single-spaced, which would be the equivalent of roughly 4 double-spaced pages,) then if they are rendered into print, they are going to be quite short. 2 ms. pages might make 1 page of print, and 4 ms. pages wouldn't make much more than 2 printed pages.
Again, there's nothing wrong with this, but if you're not liking that idea, consider turning the short chapters into short sections instead. Sections are sections of text that are separated from each other by a section or scene break, which consists of several blank lines. You can put several sections together into a chapter. So say if you've got 6 two page sections, you'd have a 12 ms. page chapter, which may then shrink down to 9-10 printed pages, and so on.
A lot of short sections can, like short chapters, possibly slow down pacing, but you could probably find a length combo you liked.
June 20th, 2006, 07:40 PM
KatG, you picked up that title (actually it's just my nickname for you) for your wonderfully helpful posts, of course — like that one. :)
June 21st, 2006, 01:55 AM
If you started a new chapter for a new day or something, it would be better to make it a new section then a chapter.
However, too many short chapters isnt bad, especially during school!:D
June 21st, 2006, 11:22 AM
Thank you all. I'll keep all that in mind.
June 22nd, 2006, 07:36 AM
Nan, as KatG said there is no right or wrong, there are no "rules" . . . but (:) ) Rule #1 is to vary everything: the length of sentences, paragraphs, and chapters; pacing; amount of dialogue vs. narrative, etc.
June 22nd, 2006, 12:06 PM
If I have to vary everything, then it's no fun.
June 22nd, 2006, 01:24 PM
I second that. For me, too much variation tends to jolt up my writing. Or maybe I'm just not competent enough. :confused:
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