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 Deciding when to start a new chapter
michelle
Posted: Nov 25 2008, 06:24 PM


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Ah, okay so I'm currently on chapter six of the novel I'm writing. The only problem is that I'm not too sure if the chapter placements are correct. I can never decide when to start a new chapter, or how to start a new chapter. Is there any way to determine when a new chapter should begin? How long should a single chapter usually be, because I feel mine are too short. This is driving me crazy because I just keep writing, but not breaking it into chapters. It was turning into a novel of one long chapter, so I just stuck some chapter beginnings into it in various places. Help?!
^
Joey!
Posted: Nov 27 2008, 02:43 PM


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Hello, I'm Joey smile.gif New here.

Anyway, there really isn't any place a chapter should begin or end. Cliffhangers are always good, as they influence the reader to continue reading, but you can't always have cliffhangers. The amount of pages all depends of personal preference. Chapters with a short amount of pages (such as Tuck Everlasting) can be good, because the reader will just read "one more" and than "one more" after that. Longer chapters, such as in Harry Potter, are good, but I often only read one chapter, sometimes not even, before it's time for bed. Having lots of chapters provide a good place to stop. Mostly, however, books with assorted chapter sizes are best (to me, anyway) - one chapter can have three pages, and the next can have twenty five.

Hope that's helped..
^
michelle
Posted: Nov 27 2008, 06:06 PM


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Welcome to SECRETcrowds, Joey! And thank you for the advice, it has helped.
^
Joey!
Posted: Nov 27 2008, 08:02 PM


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Thanks for the welcome smile.gif
And no problem.
^
.rhiannon
Posted: Dec 30 2008, 12:27 PM


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Chapter sizes are more a stylistic choice, in my opinion. While writing my NaNoNovel, I would put chapter breaks wherever it felt like there needed to be one, based on the rhythm of the story and my writing. It's hard to explain, but when you read a lot, you get a feel for how to use chapters effectively. Usually they are placed when there is a significant change in time, place, or scene. Cliffhangers are also frequently used, ending the chapter with a tantalizing revelation or some mystery about to be revealed.

All in all, it's up to you where you begin and end chapters. Try reading through what you've written instead of just adding random chapter breaks; look for the specific ending of scenes, changes in setting, shifts in point of view, etc. Get a feel for your novel's rhythm.
^
revenge to the tune
Posted: Jun 28 2009, 09:56 AM


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Aside from cliffhangers, I've noticed in many novels that at the end of a chapter the author sometimes zooms out in a "big picture" sort of way, or into a tiny detail that is supposed to be a thoughful scene. The movie equivalent would be panning the camera far off into the mountains or zooming into a tiny bug in the middle or a busy street, then fading it out.
^
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