Chapter Length: How Long Should It Be?

Recently, a co-worker expressed interest in writing a book. This individual turned to me one morning and asked, “So, how do you know how long a chapter is?” I thought he raised an interesting point and decided it would be a good topic for a blog post. Sometimes, after we’ve been writing for a while we forget some of our original questions – questions we had when we were first starting to write. To be honest, I hadn’t given chapter length much thought for a long time.

In reality, a chapter can be anything. Some books and stories don’t even use chapters. Instead, they use sections or parts. Others use both. You could have a Part 1, 2, 3 and 4, each with chapters inside of them. Some stories have long chapters that include several different scenes, some include one scene, some are just part of a scene that’s really long and so the author decided to split up the story at a cliffhanger to keep you reading (because the end of a chapter if often used as a stopping point).

In other words…

There is really no specific guideline for chapter length. I’ve read books where some chapters were 30 pages long, and some were a single page (within the same book!) Don’t be afraid to switch it up! Your book doesn’t have to be uniform or symmetrical in chapter numbers. Don’t think too much about how many chapters you have or how long each chapter is- just tell the story! Once everything is on the page, it will become easier to see where you want to divide your writing.

And there you have it. Short and sweet. When it comes to chapter length, there are no rules! Just write your story and if it needs to be split up, you will be able to tell naturally where that needs to occur. Don’t worry too much about it. Just write!

Happy writing!


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