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Gimme a break

May 8, 2012

Chapter breaks–they confuse me. I’ve noticed many books now have shorter chapters, but I can see the benefits of both long and short. With the novel I’m writing now, I’ve tried to keep chapters around 20 pages (in Word). But then I notice that major events begin in the middle of a chapter, and I have this urge to break into a new one. But then I’ll have long chapters and short chapters. And does that really matter?

How do you decide chapters in your writing?

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From → Writing

3 Comments
  1. I tend to treat my chapters as individual scenes, which could take up anything between a few pages of the protagonist popping into a friend’s flat (and questioning the random, out-of-place item there while she’s at it) to as many pages as it takes for two characters to duke it out before one gets the better of the other.

    Hell, Warren Ellis devoted a single chapter of Crooked Little Vein (a hilarious book, if something of a total mindscrew and not for everyone) to a paragraph plus one line on how his protagonist stormed into a bar and offered to buy everyone a drink, while most of the other chapters lasted for anything over ten pages. A later chapter comprised of a single paragraph telling the reader to abandon all hope of any kind of description of what took place at that moment.

    • Hmm… And now I’ve added another book to my must-read list. Sounds like the kind of Adams/Fforde-ish quirky humor I like.

      • It’s not so much quirky as ready-the-mind-bleach. A great deal of the book involves some seriously bizarre X-rated antics. O_O’

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