Chapter Length Stress


During the week I ran into a bit of a problem with my Richell Prize entry, the dreaded chapters. You see I don’t use chapters when I write, I simply use natural breaks in the flow of the writing. However one of the submission guidelines for The Richell is having a chapter by chapter synopsis. Seeing as I want to actually win this thing I figure I better do what they ask. Then came the issue of where to insert the freaking chapters.

I started going round and round in circles in my mind, stressing myself out about chapter length. So I took to Twitter to get some advice and the people on there were lovely as I knew they would be. FYI I used the hashtag amwriting to get the attention of other writers.

The general consensus seemed to be about 2 500 words a chapter, but it was more important to follow the flow of the story and the natural breaks in it. So with that in mind I started to sort out my manuscript. A day later I had filled half my dining room table with my manuscript and I was happy.Β Yeah, some of the chapters are probably too long, but it’s where I think the chapters need to be and until an editor can give me a good reason to change them, that’s where they’re staying.

So what did I learn? To ask for help when I need it and trust my instincts. I already have breaks in my story, following the natural flow of it. Several of these breaks grouped together are a chapter and realising that makes me feel like I’ve conquered a writing mountain. But if I hadn’t asked other people with more experience I would have continued to stress about it and more than likely screwed it up somehow.

The writing community is fantastic and there is always someone willing to help out. Use it and help out in return, that way we all continue to grow in our craft. Which is good because it means more awesome books!

Have a happy and creative week everyone πŸ™‚

P.S. I’m keen to hear what you guys think of chapters and their length. Let me know in the comments.


6 thoughts on “Chapter Length Stress

  1. I went with where the natural breaks fell, and on average my chapters are ten pages in length. Some are as short as six pages and some as long as 16. With the longer chapters, it didn’t make sense to make them any shorter. I’m sure you’ve done the right thing by going with your instincts. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I would normally make my chapters shorter, but with the Richell entry I wanted to make sure I was able to get as much of the story across as possible within the allowed word count. So if the requirement was 20,000 words, but without the 3 chapter restriction, I would probably have stretched it out into more chapters. I’m currently running at about 6,000 words per chapter for my entry, which I figured will be chopped and changed anyway if it ever goes anywhere!
    It sounds like your entry is really coming along! Not long to go now!!!

    Liked by 2 people

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