I know I saw a discussion on this topic, only I can't find it now.
So sorry but I'll have to pose my own question concerning chapter lengths.
I prefer to read and write fairly short chapters--
My average chapter is approximately 2,000 words but sometimes less.
What are your opinions on chapter length?
I set the scene and try to have it (the chapter) critical to the story and the characters.
There's a beginning, middle and end to them. Like a microcosim of the story itself.
something of interest at the end--cliff hanger--a surprise--something to keep the reader turning the page or wanting to.
But can a chapter say what I want it to say if it's under 1,000 words?
Your thoughts?

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A steady diet of cliffhangers becomes irritating.
a steady diet of anything does!
Again, I think different sorts of books dictate the rights and wrongs of these things.
Yes, it can get cheesy for every single chapter to have a cliff hangar, but I like them in most contemporary crime fiction--not sure if Cadefal would warrant a cliff hangar though!

I am a big fan of James Patterson's writing and have structured my own first fiction novel the same way with most chapters being 500-1000 words. Short, sharp chapters full of action that cross between scenes.

I prefer reading books in this style and so write in the same style. I find more action happens this way and scenes are stetched out to fill pages. I find quality is better than quantity.
Quality is not related to chapter length. In fact, it probably needs to be defined because people will have different notions about what constitutes quality.
so true,
I.J. but I think with so much crime fiction--it can be short, and sharp and fast.
having said that! Historical crime fiction--yours, Ellis Peters and others--that sort of crime novel isn't best set out in short chapters, I think, because there's more detail--more of a different world to bring into focus.
I don't know how you can or would want strict rules or definition of chapter length. Each to their own I say.

Let's face it there are people out there who love romance novels. I could think of nothing worse.

Definition can mean rigidity and a prevention of the flow of natural scene settings and actions. A longer chapter does not necessarily mean quality. What one person may say in a 500 word chapter may be better than what someone else says in a 5000 word chapter.
yes, and I agree too with short chapters.
Patterson's are very fast moving--we're here we're there--and I like that.
Quality is more important than quantity.
great way to put it! thanks!
Thanks so much!
It's so great to get a consensus (sp) of opinions from writers like yourself!
Yes, I tend to feel put off a bit if a chapter is too long.
I appreciate what you said. and I agree with liking a fast read. personally, I don't think there's anything better than being pulled along at break neck pace--I remember reading various books in the past and my hand shaking as I turned the page, because I couldn't wait to see what happened.
Thanks for that. I do feel better about what you said--especially how you explained it.
Also, we live such fast-moving lives--waiting for a plane, a bus--reading on a train--on the way to work, and so on.
Chapters can fill that 30 minute ride can't it?!
thanks so much Joylene!
I write specifically for that 30 minute ride when doing fiction.

My non-fiction work was a little different.

I am a Mum of two (9yo and 2yo), and work full-time as well as go to Uni and have written 7 books so far (6 NF, 1 Fic). People these days are busy. I know I am very busy. My reading time is very very very limited. I have a James Patterson in the bathroom and I can read a chapter or two in "that time."

But I also find reading shorter chapters makes you want more. Rather than having every single thing described, I like to have some of it left up to my own imagination. Yeah sure tell me he is in a suit and tie, but you don't need to tell me the colours and textures. Let me imagine that for myself. I want the action. I want the thrill of the chase. I want to go on a journey.

However, saying short chapters are good you also then need to be aware of pacing. If it is a very fast paced book, it is hard to slow down and any chapters that do that may seem out of place. A good balance of pace is imperative.
well said, Amanda.
Can't think of anything to add!
You are a busy person. I congratulate you.
Don't know how you do it, truly. remarkable.
I find it interesting that you plan your chapters to be short. In writing my book, I found that it just tended to happen. but it put me in the mode where it's best to keep that up.
seven books! keep doing what you're doing!
thanks for your reply too.


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