Question about chapter length

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Question about chapter length

Post by klbritt » August 30th, 2012, 4:10 pm

In the YA MS I just completed, my chapters average 8.5-9 pages double-spaced. Is there a norm or ideal for chapter length in YA, or is it pretty much anything goes?

I ask this because in my current WIP, the first chapter is 5 pages, and the second one is more like 3. Is this okay? Or do I need to work on structuring the chapter more so that all chapters are relatively the same in length?

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Re: Question about chapter length

Post by Philabuster » August 31st, 2012, 6:57 am

I'm not sure if YA is different, but I've always felt that a chapter should be as long or as short as you feel necessary. Adam Ross has some chapters, which are short stories all to themselves, immediately following a chapter which is only a couple of pages. In my current WIP I have some chapters that stretch to 9-10 pages and others which are only 2.

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Re: Question about chapter length

Post by Sanderling » August 31st, 2012, 7:55 pm

I think it varies both from chapter to chapter and from book to book, depending on the pacing of the story and the writing style (voice) of the author. The chapter breaks can be used to denote a change in focus or POV, or a shift in pacing, they can be inserted in strategic spots to create minor cliffhangers that keeps the reader moving forward in the story, or they can be used to offer the reader a place to catch their breath a moment. How you use chapter breaks will affect where they go and how long the chapters end up being. Also, some writers make a new chapter every time there's a new scene, while others may have multiple scenes within a chapter. Flip through some books you admire to get a feeling for how your favourite authors do it.

My own chapters tend to average 4000-5000 words, usually containing multiple scenes, but certain of my writing friends (also writing YA) write chapters that are only half that, or even less.
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Re: Question about chapter length

Post by lindsayB3462 » September 4th, 2012, 5:42 am

I think there is no fixed chapter length. It depends on the story line and the flow of the writing. I never write by looking after the chapter length. But on average for average writing i write 7-8 pages for a chapter. It is unintentional of course. To me the story is the main factor. :geek:

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Re: Question about chapter length

Post by Shipple » September 15th, 2012, 2:23 pm

I'd say the one thing that always gets me as a reader are really, really long chapters with no obvious breaks b/c I always like to try to end on a chapter (obviously that doesn't always happen), and excessively long chapter can sometimes drag on.

Also be aware of what kind of feel you're going for. Frequent chapter breaks do break up a reader's attention. If that's ok with you or works with how the story is right then, then I say go for it.
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