Is 7000 words too long for the first chapter of a story?
It is 12 pages in MSword, at 12 point font single spaced. It is 24 pages double spaced. What do you think? Too much for an opening chapter?
(note: It is NOT a short story. It's a full length story.)
August 26th, 2002, 03:41 AM
I think there is no set length to these.. Janny Wurts' work is about 39 pages(paper back) per chapter an average of 10 words per line 35 lines per page....
Terry Pratchett doesn't use chapters.
Joanne Bertin uses mirco chapters often one or two pages.
Actually, my own chapters run at between 20 and 30 pages double spacing 12 point New times Roman (for the most part I write in that, as it is a good submission format)
latest manuscript has 10 chapters and it 86,000 words long...
I think it is best to find a style and pace that suits your work, rather than "obey rules"
August 26th, 2002, 05:08 PM
Chapters, like almost everything else in your writing, are a tool to help you tell your story. So there is no optimal length: it has more to do with what you have in that chapter, and how the structure of your chapters can aid you in the storytelling.
A common perception is that one should "wrap things up" at the end of a chapter, and that the end of the chapter tells readers where they should stop. On the other hand, I subscribe to the theory that the chapter ending is where you build the suspense, so that readers don't want to put the book down! They still have the option of stopping there, but by ending on a suspenseful note, they get the anticipation of something interesting happening when next they pick the book up.
As for the first chapter, another rule of thumb has been to introduce your main character(s) in that first chapter. I did that with my book, and as a result it's the longest chapter in the whole story (about 16,000 words). All of the other chapters are about half that, except for the last one which is a sort of wind-down from the big climax chapter. I thought several times about whether that first chapter was too much for a reader and whether I ought to split it up, but in the end decided it worked better as it was. I think the best approach is to look at each story on its own merits to decide how the chapters should fall.
August 28th, 2002, 12:54 AM
Robert Jordan sometimes has 60 page prologues.
My average chapter is about 12-13 pages, size 12, singles-spaced.
August 30th, 2002, 12:11 PM
Chapter length hardly matters at all. Tolkein has massively long chapters, and so does Robert Jordan. I've also read books with really short chapters as well.