Does anyone have any advice or resource that addresses chapter organization and length?

Currently, my second chapter ends naturally at about half the length of the first. Is this appropriate, or is there some rule regarding chapter length?

Please feel free to add me as a friend or browse my blog at www.the-novel-approach.blogspot.com. The more interaction I have with writers, the better my writing will be (I think).

Thanks,
Eric

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Chapter length depends on the writer and the novel. Some people like lots of short chapters, some long ones. Theoretically the chapter subject dictates the length. Therefore, not all chapter would be the same length.

Some readers don't like to be burdened with having to hang in there for 20 pages before turning off the light. Others get irritated by one page chapters. In the end you have to do what feels right for your book.

I usually cover one event in a chapter. Sometimes I end a chapter at a point of suspense.

So don't worry about uneven length. Nobody will notice unless you break off in the middle of a scene.
Thank you, I.J.
Based on that, I think I'll just continue to write until it feels comfortable to move on. I definitely don't want to "force" anything.
A chapter, as has already been pointed out, should be as long as it needs to be.

With each book I find the length of my scenes shrinking. (I usually do each scene as a stand-alone chapter.)

Virtually all of my scenes end with some sort of cliff-hanger. Not all of them are of the Bad-Guy-Pulls-A-Gun variety either. I try to end with some sort of a twist or reversal which increases tension and (hopefully) forces the reader to go on to the next chapter. I didn't realize until later that this technique followed the screenwriter's credo voiced by Robert McKee (and others) in his book, Story. In a nutshell, each scene in a screenplay should have a "value change" to be effective and therefore included. (I think "value change" is the correct term.)

A very quick and simplistic example: Hero goes to a bar to disover the location of his lover. While there, he learns that his lover his dead. Presto, a "value change."
Hey, Eric. Carolyn Wheat wrote a book called Killer Fiction. It's about writing suspense and mystery novels, and the differences between them. Her ideas were solid, and gave me a great deal of confidence when deciding when and where to end my chapters. I think Wheat's book is a great resource.
Thank you, Jack. I'll be sure to look it up.
Hi Eric,

I wouldn't worry about it. Let your writing flow naturally. It's better than having a preconceived notion of what it's supposed to "look" like. If you're on your second chapter, chances are it will end up looking a lot different in the second draft anyway. My chapters in the last book start out long in the beginning and get shorter and shorter as I raised the pulse of the reader (I know it raised my pulse).

write on!
Terry: Thank you for the advice. I've pretty much decided to get it all down first (like you say), divide where it seems natural, and just keep testing it as I go. I truly appreciate all of the comments to my question. Thanks again!
You might want to consider looking at it from the perspective of scenes rather than chapters, since those are really the building blocks you're going to be working with. You can decide later how you want to cluster them into chapters.
Excellent point. In my newer work I'm giving chapters the heave ho altogether. I still don't know if it'll take, but the idea is enticing.
Sounds like a good idea. Chapter breaks often seem quite arbitrary.

What do you think about something like Al Guthrie did with Hard Man, giving each chapter a title (a movie title, but still, a title) instead of a number?
Nothing at all new about giving chapters titles. I've been doing it for years.

Back in the days when novels started, they gave them short synopses. See DON QUIXOTE and the 18th century British novels. Good titles can create curiosity and develop themes.
Since my protagonist is a reporter, I started off with headlines as chapter titles.

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