June 26

What’s the Recommended Length for a Novel’s Chapters?

What’s the Recommended Length for a Novel’s Chapters?

Have you ever pick up a book with a super compelling title and a description that you were so captivated by that you couldn’t wait to sit down and start reading? But, once you dove in, did you find that the chapters were just too darn long?

If so, you are not alone. A lot of readers complain that they don’t like to engage with books that have chapters that are super long and drawn out. Why? – Because they want to be able to finish a chapter in a single sitting, and for most readers, a single sitting is about 10 to 15 minutes. If the chapters in a novel are too long, chances are that they are going to struggle with finishing a chapter in one sitting.

So, with that said, the question: “How long should the chapters in my novel be?” is begged.

The answer to that can be really tricky. However, here’s a look at what famed authors, publishers, and literary agents have to say on the topic…

 

Image result for reedsy chapter length

What’s the Perfect Length for a Novel’s Chapters?

On average, most authors, agents, and publishers recommend keeping the chapters of a novel to about 2,000 words. That seems to be the perfect number because the average reader can get through that amount in a single sitting. It’s not too much that it seems to be long and drawn out, it’s easily digestible, and enough drama can be built or questions can be answered in a 2,000 word chapter.

Now, that is not to say that a chapter can’t be longer. It certainly can be. In fact, there are plenty of acclaimed novels that feature chapters that are significantly longer – up to 6,000 words! But, the key here is that they are usually books that are written for older audiences or are genres that are expected to have long-winded chapters, such as science fiction or fantasy.

You can also have chapters that are fewer than 2,000 words. Just like there are plenty of famed books that have longer chapters, there are dozens that feature chapters that are shorter than 2,000 word. Some chapters may not even reach the 1,000 word mark! But, if you’re going to do that, you really have to make sure that the chapter is truly thrilling and captivating. Additionally, you should consider following up with a longer chapter. Doing so will help to keep the reader’s momentum going and make them want to dive right into a longer chapter that can answer more questions.

The Bottom Line

In short, there isn’t a specific rule that applies when determining the appropriate length for a chapter. While 2,000 words is recommended, you certainly don’t have to stick to it. You can have a very successful book with chapters that are shorter or longer than 2,000 words; however, just make sure that you are filling them appropriately. Remember: your goal is to entertain your audience and keep their attention. In other words, write what you think works best for your story.

June 13

Getting the Confidence to Start a Story

Getting the Confidence to Start a Story

There are way more aspiring authors out there than there are published ones. In fact, the ratio of aspiring authors to authors that actually finish a story or novel (even if they never publish it) is probably around 30:1. One of the reasons why aspiring writers never start their stories is due to a lack of confidence. In this article, we’ll go over some ways that you can get the confidence to start the story you have always wanted to tell, and hopefully, begin your career in writing fiction.

Read Lots and Lots of Books

One of the things that can give you the confidence to start a story is to read lots and lots of books. There are two ways in which this can give you confidence. First of all, you get confidence because you have read books or stories that you know you can do better at. This is a common coming-of-age point for any writer. When you realize that you can write a story better than someone who actually got published, it inspires great confidence to begin your own story. The second part is reading good stories that you want to emulate can give you motivation as well.

Take a Writing Class

Taking a writing class can jumpstart your confidence because you are surrounded by people who want to write just as badly as you do; in addition, one of the things that you will probably be required to do in any writing classes is write.

Join a Writer’s Group

Being part of a writer’s group will mean that you are listening to other people read their stories and it will make you want to come up with something of your own. In addition, you’ll get extra confidence when you read something you’ve written and everyone loves it. There is a writers group in almost every town and city in the United States; look on Meetup or other group sites and try to find something that you feel comfortable joining.

Set Small Writing Goals

If you are having trouble starting because a 50,000-word manuscript just seems like too much of an effort, then set small writing goals. If you can write a chapter, then you only have to worry about 1000 to 3000 words instead of an entire manuscript. In addition, set daily writing goals so that you only think about the words that you’re going to write for that day.

Set Aside Time to Write

If you set aside a time every day that you are going to write no matter what – even if it is only fifteen minutes – then you are going to get something down on paper. Even if you sit there and do nothing for the first time or two, eventually if you force yourself to sit down at the computer or with your pen and paper ploys to write, something is going to come through. This will likely keep you going long enough to get over the writer’s block.