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Chapter length questions
Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 5:44 PM
Joined: 1/31/2014
Posts: 4

Short story; I'm writing my memoir.
The thing I'm trying to decide is about the length of chapters. I'm going over my outline and certain chapters are set to be longer than others. So the question is.. How awkward is it to have one chapter particularly chapter 1, be longer than the others. And when I say longer, I mean probably twice the size. I figure my best bet is to chop it in half, but I think that it can't really be in half, it'll most likely end up being at the 3/4 mark. I've never really taken the time to remember in any book I've read which chapter I'm on or if one is longer than the others.. So does anyone really take this into account? 

Ian Nathaniel Cohen
Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 7:15 PM

I don't.  Whatever needs to go in a chapter needs to go in, and whatever needs to get saved for another chapter gets saved.  If that means my chapter lengths are uneven, so be it.


I don't even notice that much as a reader whether chapters are about the same length or not (unless it was for reading assignments in school - and even then, I'd often read ahead).  So I really wouldn't worry too much about it.

Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 8:17 PM
Joined: 1/31/2014
Posts: 4

Thanks Ian. That's pretty much what I was thinking too.
Lezli Horn
Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014 7:04 PM
Joined: 12/21/2013
Posts: 24

I agree that chapter length should not matter. My favourite author sometimes has chapters that are two pages. That does make me stop and pay special attention which I am sure is the effect that she was going for. When I write a m/s I don't even do chapters. I do page breaks but no chapters.
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 3:00 PM
Joined: 7/18/2014
Posts: 120

I read an old book by Lawrence Block long ago. I don't recall the title now but it involves one of his characters, Chip Harrison.


An entire chapter reads, "Chip, I'm pregnant." 


 Three words total. Today, the trend seems to be shorter, single scene chapters from a page to a few pages in length. I write that way. I find it easier to keep a scene in my head than a long chapter composed of several scenes. Also, being chronically lazy, I limit my day's output to a chapter. If I can fill it, whether 2 pages or 5, I'm done for the day, and I can say I wrote an entire chapter.

--edited by ChuckB on 8/13/2014, 3:01 PM--

Elizabeth Moon
Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014 11:06 PM
Joined: 6/14/2012
Posts: 195

Chapter length is whatever feels right to you.    I like long stuff, so I like longer chapters...usually.   But it's variable and I don't think about chapter length when I'm actually writing.  I just write the story and then find that certain places call for a chapter break.  (For instance, if there's a big change in mood, in place, in time...I'll break one.)
Posted: Saturday, November 1, 2014 9:47 PM
Joined: 11/1/2014
Posts: 11

I always limit my pages to 12-13 pages before I begin a new chapter.