Thread: Chapter Length?
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Old June 27th, 2013 (7:43 AM).
Cutlerine Cutlerine is offline
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    Join Date: Mar 2010
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    Age: 24
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    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.


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