Chapters

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Re: Chapters

Postby Baker » 25 Dec 2012, 07:48

pokiepup wrote:Hm maybe thats why I have never really gone back once it's done and did the editing. Of course I've gone back and fixed spelling but i mean changing and working scenes and such. I heard that is the worst part with how many times you have to re-read and re-write everything.

I can totally understand fretting about such things as chapter lengths. When you first start writing, there's so much to learn that you yearn to get some things nailed. But, as everyone has pointed out, chapter length isn't a biggie. As unhelpful as it sounds, "as long as they need to be" is the answer. If you're serious about working on your manuscript, you will have to tackle rewriting at some point. A first draft is rarely perfect. (Heck, my first drafts aren't readable.) You will want to rework your text to make it as good as it can possibly be. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that will involve deleting and inserting big chunks of material--which would seriously impact your chapter layout. So, don't sweat it. Like Sacchi said, if the story dictates a big change in time/location/POV/etc, then create a hint to the reader by starting a new chapter. Otherwise, go with the general guideline of a chapter being 3,000-6,000 words or 3 or 4 scenes. The more you write, the easier you will find it to identify the rhythm of your story and know when to break for a chapter.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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Re: Chapters

Postby PaulaO » 25 Dec 2012, 14:11

If a writer uses a date to "name" a chapter, it darn well better be right. I am not an organized person but I expect fiction I read to be organized. So if it has been two weeks since the last chapter, and you say it has been two weeks, with that in mind, any error in relation to that spot in time will stand out for me. I am visual so I "see" the scenes.

In To Sleep, and now in To Dream, I gave the chapters names according to date because it was a journal. It. was. a pain. in. my. ass. I had to count how many times they woke up. But also since it was a journal, I could fudge a bit by having the MC say something vs actual date or time reference

Chapter 29
Day 3 (July 22 or so?)

Chapter 32
Same day, still gathering stuff

Chapter 33
Still the same day (it was a very long day)


I am going to guess the editor, publisher, and I will discuss how it will go. It will probably go as it is due to its link to the journal. Some publishers hate such stuff and others could care less. Some may want the Chapter 22 part, others won't.

Do what feels right and fits the book.
Take a deep breath and count to zen.
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Re: Chapters

Postby sbarret » 29 Dec 2012, 12:43

The missus read a book a few years back, Blowfly I think. It had 2-page chapters. Interesting idea. Unfortunately she hated the book (I guess it was a completely different writing style from the author's prior books).
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Re: Chapters

Postby PaulaO » 30 Dec 2012, 06:37

The submitted version of BGCFA, had 68 chapters. I can laugh now but I still get red-faced thinking of it.
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