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Friday, 4 February 2011

How big is a chapter?

I have always had a wild imagination and love writing but about some things I am an obsessive perfectionist. I am constantly trying to find out how many words are in the average size novel, How big or small should paragraphs be,do I need spaces between paragraphs?

One of the things I also get obsessed about is how many chapters should there be and how big? I know I should just forget these details and just write for the joy of writing but there is a part of my obsessive mind I can`t switch off. I believe finding the answers to by questions by reading hundreds of articles and books will benefit me in learning the art anyway.

This week I found an article on Anthony Morgani kindle blog in which he made some good points .He revealed that the average novel has forty to sixty scenes and that some writers use each scene as a chapter in their novel. These scenes/chapters are then sometimes broken up into different points of view. It is also recommended that every chapter should end in a question that can only be answered by reading the following chapter.Keep that reader hooked.

A point that I have never thought of before is that we all live in a busy world and most don`t have the luxury to sit and read for hours in one go.By having many short, sharp chapters it allows the reader to complete a whole chapter at a time in those rare spare moments.

If you aim to write on average 2,000 for each scene/chapter you will be on target to have a good length novel. He advise that a novel should be between 80,000 and 120,000 words. I have also in the past been given the great advice of thinking of each chapter as its own short story. This way the 100,000 target word count will not seem so intimidating.

I must also point out that when you ask how long a chapter should be some may answer how long is a piece of string? A chapters length will vary depending on what is taking place at that stage of the story.

Any more advice anyone can add would be greatly appreciated.


  1. p.s meant to say i have had a good writing week :)

  2. I often wonder about chapter length. Mine average about 10 pages, but I think I use font that may be too large at 14?

  3. Most editors prefer font size 12 because of space and it's easiest on the eyes

  4. I read that a typical book has 65'000 words, 260 double lined pages, 18 chapters of 14 pages each. Mine are all over the place though. Some move quicker than others purely because there is more action in some than others and they are shorter. Think you should just have an idea but don't feel tied to it - its just a rough idea. Shah .X