How to Write Chapters

Write bravely but for goodness sake, use chapters. – Courtney ‘Court’ Young

Novels are made up of words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. If even one of these is missing the novel would not be a novel. If the words are missing there would not be any story at all. If there were not sentences the story would be very difficult to follow the story. If there were no paragraphs it would make it would the story even harder to read. And if there were no chapters it would be practically impossible to put a novel down until it was finished.

Today we are going to talk about writing chapters.

The general length of chapters is between one thousand words and five thousand words which ends up being somewhere between four to twenty pages with about two hundred and fifty words per page.

Usually it is best for the chapters for chapters to be about the same length. Although it is not unusual for the chapters for to get slightly shorter at the end of the novel, this can increase the sense of urgency.

Also if you are going to have more than one point of view, chapters can be a good place to change points of view.

There are three parts to any chapter: the beginning, the middle, and the end. This is just like in the novel itself.

At the beginning of the chapter a problem should be introduced. The problem can be as big or as small as you wish. The problem needs to be one that can further the story, driving it towards the climax of that chapter and the climax of the entire books.

Then at the middle the problem should build up the tension. It should build up to the breaking point, however, big or small that breaking point may be.

The last part of the chapter is when some sort of resolution is reached. Not the big resolution, of course, but some sort of resolution. The resolution can be very small, but it would be good if something is resolved. But at the same time as you offer a resolution to one small thing, you want to make the overall problem even more tense and obvious.

Another thing to consider when writing a chapter is ‘What do I want to accomplish here? What do I want to happen?’ Think about what this chapter is supposed to accomplish in the overall plot. This can in some ways be the most important thing in a chapter.

Chapter names are another part of writing a chapter. Naming a chapter can be a way of giving a small insight into what the chapter is going to be. I personally like when chapters have names, but names for chapters are not at all necessary.

I tend to finish the first draft of my novel before I even consider dividing it into chapters. When I am writing my first draft, I tend to focus on the characters and the plot rather than how the finished book should look. I also tend to only do a quick overview outline, so that also effects when I add in chapters. So in when to actually add in the chapters that is totally up to you, some authors add chapters right away and some wait. It just depends on who you are.

Chapters are an important part of a novel, they allow a reader a moment to pause and take in everything that they have read. There are many more ways to write chapters than those that I have shared here, however, hopefully this has given you a better idea of what a chapter is and what to include in it.




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