I'm Trying to Get a Book Published! discussion

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Random/Off-topic > How long is too long, in chapters?

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message 1: by I'amber (new)

I'amber (xiamberx) | 113 comments Whoa, 30 pages in one chapter?


message 2: by I'amber (new)

I'amber (xiamberx) | 113 comments If I where you,because I hate long chapters mostly. I would do it five or 4 pages a chapter...


message 3: by Kriss (new)

Kriss (krisslee) | 94 comments 30 pluse pages? wow.... I'd try to make them a little shorter, but it depends on the book.


message 4: by I'amber (new)

I'amber (xiamberx) | 113 comments True, and it also depends on how you wend your chapters.


message 5: by Kriss (new)

Kriss (krisslee) | 94 comments Yep.


message 6: by I'amber (new)

I'amber (xiamberx) | 113 comments I meant end* Sorry ><


message 7: by Kriss (new)

Kriss (krisslee) | 94 comments I'amber wrote: "I meant end* Sorry ><"

Np... But I think 30 pages a chapter might be a little to much, try instead to set word goals, like how many words to you want in each of the chapters?


message 8: by I'amber (new)

I'amber (xiamberx) | 113 comments I agree.


message 9: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ I usually try not to go over five pages. Thirty pages is pretty long ... I'm guessing you could split it up? Just end a chapter when the scene changes ... or something important happens. :)


message 10: by Kenzie (new)

Kenzie Oh, well then 30 isn't bad. I usually only write about 2 1/2 to 3 pages for a chapter- 'cause I like my chapters shorter- so my book would have a lot more breaks in it. Writing longer chapters isn't a big deal, just make sure that when you end a chapter you leave the reader wanting more. Sometimes readers are scared by longer chapters, so as long as long chapters fit the book I'd say go for it. You can always shorten them up later if you feel like it.


message 11: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ Yeah, I'd say long chapters are okay as long as a lot of important stuff happens in them. If it's, say, your characters just walking around doing nothing for a long time, it might get boring if you don't split it up.


message 12: by I'amber (new)

I'amber (xiamberx) | 113 comments Excatully wat Brigid said [:


message 13: by Kriss (new)

Kriss (krisslee) | 94 comments I agree too :]


message 14: by S. (new)

S. (tangodream) I just did a search for "chapter length in novels" and here are a couple of sites I came across that look interesting and might give you some ideas. It seems to be all over the place--with a few specifics. Clear as mud, in other words. lol Also, if writing for publication, be sure you check out the publishing house you are interested in and see what they want. That does become important. And breaking them up into different sizes, as with paragraphs, tends to keep the book more interesting, according to some.

http://www.deepgenre.com/wordpress/cr...

http://www.hatrack.com/writingclass/l...

http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/node/314...

Michele


message 15: by S. (new)

S. (tangodream) You are most welcome. I really hope it helps. Personally, I tend to like chapters that are varied in length. Also depends on the writer and what is being said. Best of luck!


message 16: by Kevis (last edited Sep 01, 2009 12:24PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Sorry everyone, but I have to disagree with the consensus here. One of the major problems that I have noticed among the writers here on GoodReads is that their stories are underwritten and that their chapters are too short. If you look at pretty much any commercially published book, you'll notice that the average page count per chapter is upwards of 25 pages.

Although I do not enjoy reading books with exorbantly long chapters, I don't believe in superimposing a superficial page limit on a given chapter in a story. A chapter, like a book, should be as long as it needs to be. Chapters should be constructed thematically, not numerically. If it takes X amount of pages to tell what happens in a given chapter, then that's how long it should be. Some chapters can be as short as one page, others well over 100. It all depends on the nature of the story being told.

In my opinion, Ronna, you should make your chapters as long (or as short) as they need to be, not a page longer or shorter. If you construct your chapters thematically, your readers will not care how long your chapters are. That's why we have book marks.




message 17: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) LOL--are my chapters thematical? i just noticed-the prolouge and chapter one are kinda short....

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message 18: by Kevis (last edited Sep 02, 2009 04:16PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Kirilee,

At this point I wouldn't worry too much about the length of your chapters. I think it's a mistake to worry about such things when you are first writing a book. Those are the things you concern yourself with when you are in the process of revising your book. I have found that most young writers try to polish every chapter as they go along. This is a mistake, since you will likely have to go back and change what you wrote before to keep pace with your story since it normally changes as you write it. You should always focus on getting your entire story down on paper. Then you can always go back and change things.

When I first started writing novels some years ago, I would always try to make sure that every chapter was perfect. Eventually, I learned that it was more important to simply 'get the story written', then come back and revise it. It took me 4 years to write my first novel. On the other hand, it only took me 6 weeks to write the final draft of The Legend of Witch Bane.

My advice to you and any other writer is to get your story down and then go back and revise it later. The actual length or word count of your individual chapters is something that can wait until the final stages of completing your story.


message 19: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) okay thanks


message 20: by Rita (last edited Sep 03, 2009 06:08AM) (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) I agree with Kevis on both counts. First, every story is different, and the unique needs of your story will dictate the length of each chapter. It may be better to discuss how do you craft a scene, assuming you put one scene per chapter.

Second, write, write, write. Once you are finished with the story, then you go back and edit. It's more important that you get the story down in its entirety than for it to be perfect.

Anybody have any comments on how to craft a scene?


message 21: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (2dogcrazy) I have a problem: When I'm writing I always think stuff like "Omigosh, how the heck am I going to actually write a book-length story?" Help!


message 22: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) Nikki wrote: "I have a problem: When I'm writing I always think stuff like "Omigosh, how the heck am I going to actually write a book-length story?" Help!"

I know that feeling all too well. My first book, I'd get these hang ups about "how am I going to find a publisher" or "how am I going to get through all of this." A week would go by and I wouldn't accomplish anything because I was so busy worrying about how I was going to do it.

Some authors sit down and plot out what goes into each chapter before they sit down and write. That might help you a bit. But whether you do that or do what I do (major brain vomit), I recommend that you push past and keep writing.

Also, I ended up putting aside my longer work for a while in order to work on some shorter stuff. I have a novelette series that I am working on. Each book is about 10,000 words. When put together, it'll be just a bit longer than a novella.

Focusing on smaller stories took away the pressure, taught me a lot about writing, and gave me the opportunity to just have fun.


message 23: by Kevis (last edited Sep 03, 2009 12:21PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Nikki,

Rita has given you some wonderful advice. But allow me to add this much. You have to learn to allow your stories to dictate what they will become. You may have the desire to write a book and in the process write a really marvelous piece of fiction that may not reach novel length. Are there ways to make your story longer? Sure. But you would also be in danger of padding your story just to get the word count up. Perhaps that novel you are writing really isn't a novel, but rather a short story, or even a novelette. Let your story tell you how long it should be. Then, and only then, you can worry about what to call it and in which market it should find a home be it short story or novel. The idea is not to over think the writing process and allow it to hinder you from writing your story.


message 24: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (2dogcrazy) Thanks everybody, that's really good advice.


message 25: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) Kevis wrote: "Nikki,

Rita has given you some wonderful advice. But allow me to add this much. You have to learn to allow your stories to dictate what they will become. You may have the desire to write a book an..."


Has anybody here seen Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog? Put together in 3 fifteen minute segments, and as friend of mine once said, the production did a better job of explaining how Anakin became Darth Vader than George Lucas did in 3 two-hour full length movies.

Sometimes short has more impact. Sometimes something needs epic proportions. Exactly what Kevis said.

(I've noticed I've been saying that a lot lately. "...what Kevis said...")


message 26: by Kevis (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments That's okay, Rita. If "what Kevis said" ever becomes a catch phrase, you can go ahead and trademark it, LOL!


message 27: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) It would be a great name for a blog.


message 28: by Kevis (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments I have to admit. "what Kevis said" certainly does have a bloggish ring to it. ;)




message 29: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (2dogcrazy) LOL! :D


message 30: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) it does lol!


message 31: by icecheeks411 (new)

icecheeks411 Kevis wrote: "Sorry everyone, but I have to disagree with the consensus here. One of the major problems that I have noticed among the writers here on GoodReads is that their stories are underwritten and that the..."

I have to agree with this, a well written, fully rounded chapter should be like... 20-30 pages... once you get longer then that it does get a little excessive... it's nice to have breaks here and there to stop at...

At the same time, for dramatic effect, you can have some shorter chapters too.


message 32: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ Rita J. wrote: "Kevis wrote: "Nikki,

Rita has given you some wonderful advice. But allow me to add this much. You have to learn to allow your stories to dictate what they will become. You may have the desire to w..."


OMIGOD! I LOVE DR. HORRIBLE!!!! i've watched it like a million times ... i have like all the songs memorized ... that thing is a work of genius. lol :D


message 33: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) ♥ Brigid ♥ wrote: "Rita J. wrote: "Kevis wrote: "Nikki,

Rita has given you some wonderful advice. But allow me to add this much. You have to learn to allow your stories to dictate what they will become. You may have..."


It is a work of genius. Plot, character development, all other major story elements, and he managed to do it in 45 minutes.


message 34: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ I know, right? It's amazing. lol :] And the ending is surprisingly ... deep. I was like, "Whoa, didn't see that coming!" haha


message 35: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) ***SPOILER ALERT***

Somewhere I saw some people talking about the ending in a chat. They were hoping for a sequel where you find out that the she isn't really dead. However, much I hated the fact that she died, it was the best ending for the story. You'd ruin the impact to raise her from the dead.


message 36: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ I agree. The first time I watched it I was like "WHAT?? Noooo that's a terrible ending!" But after I watched it like three or four times (heehee) and really thought about it, I realized it's actually a brilliant ending. It's totally unexpected, especially considering the rest of the film is pretty light and funny. But the ending gives it some irony and substance. Ahh ... the last shot, when he's just sitting there all alone ... gets me every time >_< This is making me want to go watch it again ... lol!


message 37: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) My parents (uptight, very religious) came to visit over labor day weekend. I learned as a teenager to never recommend a movie to my parents. One bad word in the movie, one slightly adult scene, and I'd be berated for having seen the movie, let alone for liking and recommending it.

So I almost recommended Dr. Horrible to them. Almost. I mean, there's no nudity, right? It's light humor, isn't it?

And then at the last moment, I remember what Captain Hammer, corporate tool, said, "These are not the hammer..." You know what comes next.

Yeah, good thing I didn't recommend it.

Poor, sad, deprived people...


message 38: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisarosenbergsachs) | 36 comments Hi, In my case, it is my daughter who is ultrareligious. She became that way in college when she was going through a crisis. I'm learning to avoid talking about a lot of topics when we're together. It's amazing how many pink elephants can fit in a room.


message 39: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) I do not consider myself to be religious. I consider myself to be spiritual, and I accept everyone the way they are without trying to change them, whether I approve of their behavior or not.


message 40: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisarosenbergsachs) | 36 comments That's a good way to be. I avoid certian topics with her that I have strong feelings about because I don't want to get upset or in a wasteful argument. What's the point. I know it won't change her and it will just get me aggravated.


message 41: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) I've read many parenting books that say, "You can't change/control anybody. You can only change/control yourself." I try to keep that in mind when dealing with everybody. I can only decide for myself what/who I am and how I will act. I can't decide that for anyone else.

You are a very wise mom to avoid such conversations.


message 42: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ Rita J. wrote: "And then at the last moment, I remember what Captain Hammer, corporate tool, said, "These are not the hammer..." You know what comes next. "

LOL. That is one of my favorite lines from the whole thing ... the first time I saw it I pretty much laughed so hard I cried. I know, I'm immature. But wow, that was funny. lol. XD


message 43: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) Immature? No, that was a good line. From a writing perspective, it was good character building. In my opinion, it was a brilliant line, cleverly done, and showed an excellent mastery of writing dialog.

Captain Hammer felt that he had to explain his subtle innuendo. That reveals quite a bit about Captain Hammer.


message 44: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ haha exactly. it's just so funny that he feels the need to EXPLAIN what he means. XD lol!


PageSageRageParker the Mighty (White Chocolate) (theoriginal) i like the books that have like hundreds of chapters that are like a page in length, it makes me feel like a super fast reader when i go from chapter 1 to chapter 20 in about 15 minutes. ^.^


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