Thursday, September 2, 2010

Short Chapters

I saw Cynthia's blog and heard myself saying amen. I do a lot of critiquing, and see five, even eight-thousand word chapters. If you can't close a scene in under two-thousand words, either your action or dialogue is bloated. I'm surprised all these how-to books (Lukeman, Maas, et al) don't warn about the long-chapter phenomenon. Long chapters gag this reader.

Write Every Day!

Regards, Mac
http://home.roadrunner.com/~macwheeler/

4 comments:

  1. So, just to clarify, you think a chapter should only be one scene long?

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  2. Hi Suzi

    My first novels had a plethora of scenes, and frequent POV changes per chapter.

    I have since changed my voice, and think, improved it. I now write in first person, and stay in her POV exclusively. This immediately eliminated the necessity of all those “nasty” interrupting shifts in view, and naturally enabled single scene chapters.

    That is my voice, and what I have found I enjoy reading in other novels.

    I’m not saying it is the only way. I still see a lot of objective narrative too, and the experts say that is horrible – which I agree pushes the reader away from the character and action. So. . . .

    Regards, Mac

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  3. Thank you Mac. I always enjoy reading your posts. They're very pithy.

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  4. Long chapters also make harder work to read. When you must stop in the middle of the action (scene) it's harder to return to it.

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