21 thoughts on “Chapters

  1. This is great stuff!
    I use scene cards in a similar way, and they have a lot of the same checklist items on them. One thing you might want to consider adding is whose point of view the chapter is written from. Thinking about how each character experiences the scene opened up whole new avenues of storytelling for me!


  2. Useful piece of advice and tips for some trying to pen her/his first novel, thanks. I have been subscribing to your blog since A-Z…thought I’d drop in a line or two. have a great weekend.


  3. That’s a good list.
    Word count might be another thing to look at. Chapters don’t have to be all the same length but if, for example, most are short and fast paced and there’s one long one with little action, there could be a problem.


  4. That’s more thought than I ever give a chapter! I try to think of those things generally, but this list would be useful on second draft / editing stages, or if I get stuck.


  5. I like the recommendation of analyzing the chapter and deciding if it doesn’t advance the story, delete it. I’ve taken recently to trying something with my creative nonfiction where I’ll seize on a passage or short scene and go deeper, asking if a particular paragraph or description advances either the story or characterization or setting. If not, then more cutting. I think we tend to do that a lot at the beginning and the end of works, but get lazy in the middle.


    • Thanks Patrick, yeah, you’re right, and really, the middle is just as important. It’s all very well having a good start, and hence hooking the reader, and you might have a brilliant ending…..but if the reader gets fed up in the middle they’re not even gunna make it there are they πŸ˜‰



  6. I always make sure my chapters end with a little cliffhanger. It doesn’t have be huge, it just has to be enough to make someone want to turn the page instead of switching the light off and going to sleep like they should. πŸ™‚


  7. Hi Vicki, great reminders. When I’m critiquing, I always try to keep my eye out on how each chapter is devised. If it is not moving the story forward, then it definitely drags everything down.

    One way to help writers figure out whether their chapters are working, is to ask themselves what the purpose of the chapter is–then make sure you’ve actually fulfilled that purpose, as well as to make sure that purpose is enough of a driving force. Many times we haven’t fulfilled our objectives for individual scenes and/or chapters when we think we did!


  8. I just removed two chapters from my WIP. While they were interesting for background info and insight in the main character, they slowed the story down instead of moving it forward, so bye-bye (even though there were scenes I loved!).


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