Okay, a nerdy writerly question. In all of my nonfiction and fiction books, the length of my chapters have been somewhat consistent. In my current work-in-progress, the chapters are of substantial varying lengths (so far each chapter is in the POV of a different character). Writers, have you published anything with very inconsistent chapter lengths? Readers, have you come across something like this and was it annoying?

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I write the chapter to where there is a nice break for a page turner. I've not ever written a two-pager yet, but if it happens, it happens. I'm more focused on keeping the pace up and short chapter punches do it for me as a reader and a writer. I had usually written an avg of 6000 words per chap but now average 4000 or so. I'm more of a scene girl myself.

I like to read as part of my bedtime ritual. And shorter chapters work better for me as a reader. I very rarely don't finish a chapter unless it's way too long and I'm getting sleepy. So writers that meet my sleepytime standard work best. I've noticed the suspense writers I've been reading over the last several years have used shorter chapters (I'm assuming for pace purposes) and I like the trend.
Chapter lengths work on the same principle as sentence and paragraph lengths: variety keeps the story from bogging down. Don't do anything to divert the reader's attention from the story at hand, but don;t be afraid of a short chapter, especially if you're writing in scenes. If you're afraid of breaking the momentum and giving the reader an excuse to put the book down, find a way to make the end of one chapter lead into the beginning of the next. W.E.B. Griffin is a master of this, whatever else anyone thinks of his writing.


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