I want to be able to have at least 2,000-3,000 words per chapter.

But when I finish my chapter outline, it comes to around 1,000 words. I then go back and it is about 1,300 after edits. I want to know if there are any ways to add more words, WITHOUT adding a lot of events, because then it would be too much.

  • 1
    Why do you want to unnecessarily pad your chapters? You have written the perfect text when there is not just nothing left to add but also nothing left to remove.
    – Philipp
    Jun 6, 2017 at 11:59
  • Is your question really is "How do I change my writing style so it would become 2-3 times lengthier?"
    – Alexander
    Jun 6, 2017 at 18:07
  • Agreed that this question is unclear. Please consider editing to bring this into focus. Jun 6, 2017 at 20:49

5 Answers 5


This is the oldest answer in the book, but I think it might apply here...

"Show, Don't Tell"

If the chapter that you have just written encapsulates an entire scene, setting up the stage on which your characters will perform, then introducing those characters, their attitudes and their actions,...

If it describes the consequences of those actions and then either builds to a break point, or establishes a smooth transition into the next scene,...

If it conveys not only the facts of what has happened, but also your character's individual motivations and goals...

and if it does all that in only a thousand to thirteen hundred words while simultaneously weaving artistry into the tempo and flow of the words...

then either you are truly gifted at choosing the perfect words, which succinctly yet beautifully paint the events of the scene in full detail upon the canvas of your reader's imagination...

or you are just telling them the bare facts of what has happened and hoping that their imaginations, unaided by any assistance from you, the author, will somehow grasp the beauty of what you are trying to describe.

You are writing fiction, not a police report. Brevity is not a prerequisite.


(list is non-exhausting)

Add more dialog & expose more of personalities.

Expand on descriptions, use all senses.

Include history of places and possible futures.

Add non-plot characters that interact with heroes or environment to establish feeling and alien/familiariy of story in chapter.


  • Careful of overdoing the above though, it can come across as just padding if not done well
    – GordonM
    Jun 6, 2017 at 9:08
  • also if you expand on descriptions and senses... you could run into purple prose issues where you may have to delete it out and end up where you were again.
    – ggiaquin16
    Jun 6, 2017 at 17:11

A chapter is an seemingly arbitrary division within a story. Ac chapter may contain one of more scenes or transitions.

Chapters are as long as they need to be. One of my stories contains an 8000 word chapter - it's an epic. I have seven characters in the same scene. If each character has something to say and do the resulting scene is very long. The scene takes place in one room there is no opportunity to split it. In the same story I have a scene where one character recalls the events before falling asleep. The scene contains only ONE character and no interaction - it's 400 words.

How long is a piece of string?


Although wanting to have chapters of a certain size, it is more of a personal interest than one that your story may need or use. It is okay for some chapters to be shorter and other longer. Shorter chapters tend to convey a feeling of speed and increased pace.

Unless you are told by your editor, the story should dictate the size of the chapters.


If you have the right story in each chapter and you don't feel that it needs any more, then don't add anything. Chapters can be short, it's not the end of the world. I've just recently read a book where a chapter was two paragraphs long, it only took up half the page. It doesn't matter how long your chapters are, just so much that you get your point across.

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