So… one thing I’ve always struggled with is how long each chapter should be. A few paragraphs, a few pages, what?
The definition from Webster:
Full Definition of CHAPTER
a : a main division of a book
b : something resembling a chapter in being a significant specified unit <a new chapter in my life>
a : a regular meeting of the canons of a cathedral or collegiate church or of the members of a religious house
b : the body of canons of a cathedral or collegiate church
: a local branch of an organization
Wonderful… well that’s helpful… So how do we gauge how long a chapter should be? Well for starters, I’d honestly say if your chapter is less than a page long, it’s too short.
Chapters seem to be relative to the overall length of the book; longer books, longer chapters. So a book that has only 80k-90k words could understandably have chapters that are 2-3 pages long. Whereas books that are over 200k could feasibly have 10-20 pages between chapters.
So with that established, when then do we start a new chapter or just use a marker to show that we’re switching locations or passing time?
Honestly… there is no set rule, but I try to stick to my self-imposed criteria:
Minor passage of time (hours): Time Marker
Change of perspective (moving to different characters): Time Marker
Significant time passage (1 or more days), but remaining in the same place or situation: Time marker.
Major Event: Chapter
Significant Time Passage, Change of Perspective: Chapter
Any passage of time/Change of Perspective following a change of location or circumstance: Chapter
Again, remember, these are my own self-imposed rules, so don’t worry if this isn’t how you do it. I post this simply as a guide to help anyone stuck on whether or not they should start a new chapter. Hope this helps!
Catch you on the flip side,
As long as it needs to be.