55 votes
Accepted

Is it necessary to use chapters for fiction?

A The benefit of using chapters isn't related to the storytelling, but rather to the comfort of the reader. It provides an easily identifiable break in the story. If a reader needs to put down their ...
Flater's user avatar
  • 3,137
32 votes
Accepted

Writing garbage to see if the characters do something interesting?

Is written garbage better than leaving the page blank? Infinitely! Does every page you write need to be part of your novel? No! If you are seeing weaknesses in the structure of your story, and you ...
Henry Taylor's user avatar
  • 10.8k
20 votes

Are there any established rules for splitting books into parts, chapters, sections etc?

It sounds like the divisions emerged organically and intrinsically from the story – that's how it should be. Don't worry that some are long and some are short. That's not a flaw. Forcing the story ...
wetcircuit's user avatar
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18 votes

Is it okay for a chapter's POV to shift as it progresses?

There are two questions hiding in your question, 1. Can the POV character not be the character who's most active? Consider Sherlock Holmes as an example. Watson is the POV character, the story is ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
15 votes

Is it necessary to use chapters for fiction?

Technically, no. Most novels use them, but I've read some Discworld novels that just have a black line occasionally to break things up. You may also wish to consider writing an epistolary novel, which ...
J.G.'s user avatar
  • 9,557
13 votes

Writing garbage to see if the characters do something interesting?

Something I've learned as a programmer that translates directly to writing is that quite a lot of what you write will not make it to the final product, and you have to be OK with that. A lot of ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
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13 votes

Should important events that happen a long time before the rest of the story be in a prologue or in chapter 1?

If there is such a huge time difference and there are no big temporal skips in the rest of the book this would likely be a good prologue. Because of the difference this would feel to the reader like ...
Secespitus's user avatar
  • 5,686
13 votes

How can I change scene without changing chapter?

Typically in a novel you indicate a scene break within a chapter by centering "***" or "---" on a line by itself. (Without the quote marks, of course). In Harry Potter and the ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
12 votes

Is it necessary to use chapters for fiction?

Chapters are not necessary, but help readers understand what is happening. There ARE chapters in films, signaled by "establishing shots", the first orientation shot that tells the viewer the ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
11 votes

Sizing of a chapter and how many should I use?

If you think of a scene, it is a smaller scale for chapters. A book contains many chapters, that contains some scenes. The scale for scenes should be smaller than 3000-5000 words, cause in sum, they ...
Pawana's user avatar
  • 2,621
11 votes

Building a scene and readability

Each chapter will open on something that sets the scene to come. A descriptive paragraph (or other length) that focuses on the setting is a perfectly legitimate way to do this, but it's not required. ...
Cyn's user avatar
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9 votes
Accepted

Is there a place for an epilogue in a standalone novel?

Yes! The epilogue began long before "the never ending series" became the common form. Remember: "And they lived happily ever after" is an epilogue. It's a way of satisfying the readers curiosity ...
ShadoCat's user avatar
  • 1,291
9 votes
Accepted

Reusing story title as chapter title

I think you need either a more general title for your book, or a more specific title for your first chapter. The main thing I see wrong with that is it will make it seem like the whole story is about ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
9 votes

Is starting each chapter with a diary entry cliche?

These are called epigraphs, and they're perfectly fine Off the top of my head: the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant heads each chapter with one or two blog posts from the characters. Mistborn and The ...
Arcanist Lupus's user avatar
8 votes

Is it necessary to use chapters for fiction?

In addition to the other answers, chapters help with finding things in books. Chapter numbers don't change between different prints of a book, or different translations, or different resolutions of ...
usernumber's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Sizing of a chapter and how many should I use?

A chapter can be long or short, it can be longer or shorter than other chapters in your novel, you might have a novel with no chapters at all. Think of it this way: a sentence isn't defined as 5-10 ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
8 votes

Are there any established rules for splitting books into parts, chapters, sections etc?

Short answer: break where it makes sense. Some points at which breaks are traditionally made or ways to define breaks include: change of site, the place the action is taking place changes. change in ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 10k
8 votes

Is it okay for a chapter's POV to shift as it progresses?

Break the chapter into three scenes. Each scene has a POV character. First and last scenes have one POV character. Middle scene has the other POV character. Since the scenes in the chapter will differ ...
JonStonecash's user avatar
  • 5,247
8 votes

Reusing story title as chapter title

As the other answers have stated, I don't believe re-using the story's name for the first chapter is a particularly good idea, especially if it means something different later on in your story. ...
F1Krazy's user avatar
  • 10.8k
8 votes
Accepted

How can I change scene without changing chapter?

There is nothing saying that a chapter has to be a given size, or be a given anything at all. I've seen one word chapters, not often and several of them failed miserably to be useful but a couple of ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 10k
7 votes

Am I Breaking Too Many Rules?

Finish the story. Finish it whether it's one book, two, or five. Writing is practice for writing; editing is practice for editing. No effort is wasted. If you have two or three really good books, ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
7 votes

Is it necessary to use chapters for fiction?

I think chapters make a good breakpoint in the flow. I often read if I'm on my way home, or at home. Since I'm not living alone, it often happens that something unexpected pops up. If you want to ...
Pawana's user avatar
  • 2,621
7 votes
Accepted

How do you deal with Chapter 2 when Chapter 1 is a volcano opening?

I've been reading a book about a related topic and the author touches on this. They refer to James Bond as the example of this type of opening: the opening to every movie is a fast paced action scene, ...
SFWriter's user avatar
  • 23.8k
7 votes

Is there a place for an epilogue in a standalone novel?

+1 Shadocat; I will expand on that answer with reasons. Epilogues are especially welcome if your story is strongly focused on characters, and throughout the story they (like most of us) have thoughts ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
7 votes
Accepted

Building a scene and readability

what are the important elements to consider, and how long should the description be, before getting on with the narration? The most important element to consider is why the reader is reading it. ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
7 votes

When should I start thinking about chapters?

Quick challenge: should you start thinking about chapters? It is entirely possible to write the entire book without any chapters (or, depending on your point of view, as a single chapter). To quote ...
Chronocidal's user avatar
  • 2,136
7 votes

How many pages are required to be in each chapter?

The length of the chapter should only be as long as it needs to be. Think of each chapter as a story within a story, of sorts - or a frame narrative - wherein each chapter has its own set of events ...
Unknown Brain's user avatar

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