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Cooljoshua567 June 27th, 2013 4:03 AM

Chapter Length?
Hey Pokecommunity. CJ here, and I'm here to offer up a question that i've quite a bit of trouble with. Ya see, I recently started posting my first Poke fiction, labelled "The Forgotten Memories". Now the problem lies with how long in chapter length would be an appropriate amount to keep readers interested but not too long to make it off putting.

The reason I ask this is because I feel as if my chapters are a bit long and because of that when people first see them, they are off put by it's length.

Cutlerine June 27th, 2013 7:43 AM

There are absolutely no rules or guidelines about chapter length except one: they need to be exactly as long as they need to be to tell the part of the story that you want to tell. The story is paramount, not the reader: a good story, whether it has 5000+ words per chapter or less than 1000, will probably be read by someone, eventually. (I would think that the sort of people to be put off by a long chapter are the sort of people who don't necessarily make good readers, but I fear that might just be the bookworm in me talking.) If you're worried that the chapters are too long, then, well, don't. A very long chapter might put someone off if they don't have much time, or if they just can't be bothered - but creating a good story doesn't come about by writing for the readers, it comes about by writing for the story. If, in order to get in all the plot, characterisation and other meat you need in this chapter, you have to write 10,000 words - so be it. If you can say it all in just 800, then that's just as valid a chapter.

Essentially, the focus should never be on length, but on quality. I'm not sure that that many readers check to see how long something is and then discriminate on that basis - I think that most of them read the first few sentences of a first chapter, and then, if they're hooked, keep reading; if what they read then keeps them interested, they'll keep going with you until the end of the chapter. (Sometimes, in extreme cases, they'll sit down and read entire stories, or multiple stories - several hundred thousand words covering well over two thousand printed pages - all in one go.)

So, to recap: write as much or as little as you need to. If it serves the story well, it won't matter how long it is. I noted your chapters are around 5000-6000 words long; I've written stories which weigh in at a similar word count per chapter and they've still been read.

I hope that helps a little.


Phantom June 29th, 2013 2:01 PM

Just like what Cutlerine said above. You're chapter should be as long as it needs to be.

The chapter needs to feel complete. One way to help with this is to outline every chapter. Some questions to ask yourself; What needs to happen in this chapter? What in this chapter moves the plot forward? Did it send the message I want the readers to see? How does this chapter flow with the one previous, or what I have planned for the next one?

Knightfall June 30th, 2013 11:45 AM

Like the Cutlerine and Phantom said before me: the chapter needs to be what's comfortable for you to accomplish. Whatever it takes for you to feel like you moved the plot and/or character development far enough.

Length doesn't have much to do with anything. As long as you can check off the two above things and the length fulfills the minimum word count for a chapter, then you should be good. And interested readers will read them, no matter the length.

For me, my average word count for one of my chapters is between 6000 and 10,000 words, but that's just my style and what I enjoy writing. So, just do what you enjoy doing and keep up the quality, and readers will respond positively. If they don't, then you should not change your style to fit their needs unless there is something legitimately wrong in your formatting.

Your story comes first. It's your tale you wish to tell. Don't let things like chapter length and readers mess with it.

Good luck with your story.

Knightfall signing off...

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