Chapter lengths?

  • While copying in our manuscript to Plotist earlier this week, Obsidi0n and I realized that our story never really had preset out chapters so much as it was just a long, continuous story.

    So now we want to share some of our draft work and likely will just share what we've at least temporarily decided is "Chapter 1" long is a chapter for you guys usually? We don't mind long chapters and we know nothing is really set in stone here but, how long is too long? Do readers really care how long chapters are and need a 'break' between?

    Would love some input.

  • When I was actually writing something in novel form a while back. I obsessed a lot about this. And, there is no norm to go by really. So I decided that I'd end chapters when it felt like a good place to do so regardless of word count.

    For my current work... I'm gonna be publishing it online and in the form of blog posts, so I'm trying my best to keep chapters under 5000 words because that's where I start to get tired of reading one continuous thing on a screen. That said, if it goes over, it goes over. I still like to make sure that the breaks I make in the story make sense and don't disrupt the pacing.

    As a reader, if I'm reading something on a web page, I like chapters to be short enough that I don't have to stop reading in the middle of them and then be forced to scroll down to where I stopped. I can finish, skip to the next chapter and bookmark the page for later. But if it's a book, it doesn't matter as much, because it can just be immediately picked up on the page you left it on. If that makes sense? ^^'

  • Where we picked to end it for now is around 12k, which just seems like a lot but I'm not really sure of a better place in the text to call it quits.

  • Like @Blackbird, I tend to finish where I feel it would be best naturally and makes sense, but this ends up being around a few thousand words (I'll say 2000-3000 if you want me to be specific) for me in general.
    Though it doesn't necessarily have to have chapters; if I remember correctly, when Terry Pratchett was writing Discworld, with only a few exceptions, all the books had scene breaks, but they were never separated by chapter. I think his reasoning was that life wasn't broken up into chapters, so why should the story?

    As a reader, if I'm reading something on a web page, I like chapters to be short enough that I don't have to stop reading in the middle of them and then be forced to scroll down to where I stopped. I can finish, skip to the next chapter and bookmark the page for later. But if it's a book, it doesn't matter as much, because it can just be immediately picked up on the page you left it on. If that makes sense? ^^'

    No, that makes sense, and I agree ^-^

    At the end of the day, though, how long the chapters are and where you break is entirely up to you two, so I'd say go with whatever feels best :)

  • I'll likely end up posting where we've decided "Chapter 1" is and gather some feedback if the forum finds it too long etc. We're dealing with some other formatting issues too so it's a draft by many definitions.

    Expect that sometime tonight, haha. Smidge nervous.

  • Yeah we're having issues converting long blocks of text to novel form. We're kinda tossing some ideas around in our heads but it's really a matter of "Will the reader get bored? Will it be cutting off too soon? Is it too lengthy and wordy?"

    I know a lot of readers nowadays want concise stories and ideas. Short, sweet, to the point. I myself tend to ramble so we're a little concerned about the wordcount versus the average fantasy novel.

    Although honestly I'm sure if it comes out good then people will want to read it regardless...but convenience should be added where possible without removing important elements from the story.

    Czarbuckz has to keep me together XD I'm all over the place.

  • Different stories of mine end up with different chapter lengths. Frequent breaks can help or harm the story, as far as I'm concerned, and the author's voice has a fair bit to do with that. There is something to be said for making 4k words per chapter, and at 20 chapters you know you're about at the end of a standard length novel, but rarely do my characters conform to my will that specifically. A chapter should achieve what the author envisions its purpose to be, however long or short that might be. You may need a fairly longer chapter to introduce enough evidence about a character to come to appreciate them. Or keep a chapter short to demonstrate an alternate perspective, but not one you want the audience to empathize with as much. I'm still learning what works for me, mind you, but I always try to end a chapter with something that makes the audience feel the pull of turning the page. I'd suggest not putting such a hard stop at the end of a chapter that someone puts down the book, is all.

    Hopefully my 2 cents help out :)

  • We put it up last night to anyone with the time and interest. It's pretty long. We're not really sure what to do with it.

  • @czarbuckz I'm very interested! Might take me some time to put out some form of actual feedback, but I'll definitely be reading it asap. :)

  • @blackbird we'd really appreciate it! Especially since I've seen your writing and it's wonderful. Obsidion and I have had this bumping between us for like, 6 years and we're just getting to the point we have solid story but it's still very unrefined.

  • @czarbuckz Heh. First of all, thank you. I dunno if wonderful is the word I'd use, but oh well, I try. >.>

    I'm tagging @Obsidi0nAngel as well, since I'm going into your chapter here.

    I finally finished reading. Had to copy the whole thing to Google and give myself some line breaks so my sight didn't start to blur... And it took me a while because I wanted to read it in one sitting and not a paragraph every half an hour in between whatever I'm constantly needing to do.

    I'm replying here because, welp, the feedback thread got deleted.(Why guys?) :|

    Regardless. That was a brutal place to stop. Man oh man, I'm so curious. That is NOT fair. o.O (Seriously, it was a fine place to stop, I just want to know how it continues lol)

    Once I managed to sit down with it this was a very easy read because it immediately caught my attention. Sabine and Caine are just instantly likable in their own particular ways. I just want to give them hugs. The way the world is presented and the characters are described is very natural and fluid, the only thing I found myself questioning "wait, what is this?" was the seal, but I could easily assume it'll come up later since it sounds really important. Everything was easy to understand and accept as being part of the setting, which is good.

    You guys do have some structural problems. A lot of sentences that are a little too long and could be broken into two separate ones. And some that are a bit more wordy than necessary. Sometimes it helps to read the story out loud and note which sentences are difficult to read in one breath, see how you can make them a bit shorter.

    For instance, things like:

    She stopped up short to harvest some roots that she knew her mother was getting low on, tucking them into the pouch attached to the belt at her waist.

    People wear belts on their waist normally, so you could have just said: "attached to her belt".

    Unsure what it was, she did her best to dim her presence like her father had taught her to on one of their many trips when she was younger. She pressed low into the brush, hoping whatever or whoever it was it didn't trip over her.

    That 'to' and that second 'it', can be removed entirely and it makes no difference whatsoever. So you could just get rid of them and make the text more fluid.

    Small things like that break up the flow of the story some, but it's just a matter of going through the chapter and giving it a little polish. It's not a major problem in my opinion. I think you guys are off to a pretty good start. :)

    Seriously, though... I want to know what happens now. You got that whole situation just about to blow up in someone's face and I'm left here to wonder. -.-

    Hope this was helpful, overall. I don't consider myself the best at giving feedback, but again; I try. ^^"

  • So funny story, we actually deleted the thread because we decided to pull it and rework stuff lmao!
    Thank you so much for the feedback though, holy shit, I'm so sorry hahaa, we're in the process of paring down stuff into chapters, cutting unnecessary sentences and scenes to try and streamline stuff a little.
    Also we're adding a preface to help a little with the context of stuff.

    Really glad you enjoyed our rambling!

  • @blackbird bless your heart for reading that entire humongous block of text and not giving up

    Bless you <3

    Also, I agree about structural issues. Sentences like those are usually caused by lack of sleep, caffiene, lack of interest(when you're tired of writing for a day but you force yourself to continue) and a lack of fine attention when editing.

    What Czarbuckz said. Glad you enjoyed it. Need to polish it a lot more but hopefully we'll have more soon :3

    I'm also happy you like our babies <3 they're our pride and joy. Broken, probably a little weird and wired funny, but our babies nonetheless.

    And the feedback was great, very helpful! Anything that can point out our mistakes to us is a hell of a lot better than nothing, and you did a great job with feedback. Much appreciation and love <3

  • @blackbird Oh and btw, if you would want to proofread the next bit a little early, PM me and I'd be glad to give you an in.

  • @czarbuckz Ha. I imagined that, but I figured, what the hell, I'm here anyway. :P

    Do share again if/when you think you're ready though. It was already a pretty good read and I'm sure some of the others will have some pretty good things to say as well. :)

    And yeah, I would actually like that. I'll hit you up when I'm feeling more awake. Right now I'm just about to crash.

    @Obsidi0nAngel Nah, don't worry. Trust me, I can handle walls of text. My partner and I have over a million words of crap in the form of RP posts to go over in order to rewrite our series. Every time we start thinking about it we just have a moment of "holy smokes, what have we done to ourselves?" and I'm only about 90% sure this won't be what eventually kills us. lol

    I'm glad the feedback was helpful. ^^

  • @blackbird I just got done editing the REAL first chapter (Which is a nice 8k words, so MUCH shorter) and I'll put that up tomorrow. You're way further ahead though.

    Have a good night!

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