I'm writing a YA sci-fi/post apocalyptic type novel with two view point characters. The book is all written in third person and so far every time I switch between view point characters use a chapter break. For most of the book, the two view point characters are together experiencing the same situations (though they are experiencing them very differently). Because of this, I feel that a chapter break is a good way to make it clear that our view point character has changed. The thing I'm worried about is chapter length. I've had some chapters that are almost 5000 words but then I have others that are just under 1000. I know that word count per chapter can be played with a little to adjust the pacing of the novel. Occasionally I find a point 700 words into a chapter that I think would be a perfect time to switch view point characters I just want to make sure that my chapters aren't too short because of it.

If the majority of my chapters are on average 3500 words, is an occasional 700 word chapter going to throw off the flow of the novel or cause any disruption?

2 Answers 2


No. Chapters in novels for any target audience do not have a dictated length to them. I've seen chapters that are a page long in some novels I've read (normally towards the climax when two events are happening quickly and closely together. Brevity is Wit after all).

Make your chapters as long as they need to be to get the job of the scene featured done.

  • He isn't really writing for YA, but Stephen King sometimes has chapter of only a few lines and in at least one instance of only a part(!) of a sentence. (That sentence started in the chapter before.)
    – Alfe
    Feb 26, 2021 at 16:45

I guess it depends on your intentions.

Example, a place like Tapas, in which you can upload original novels, recommends short chapters, between 500 and 1500, because it's mainly used by phone users and it's en easier reading like that.

In your case, if is something more profesional I think you should have an min and max. Let's say, chapters between 2500 and 5000 words with the 3500 as average. So you should try to keep the chapters between a range.

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