Chapters in a Book

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Chapters in a Book

Post by christi » February 3rd, 2010, 4:20 pm

I am unsure about something, so I thought I'd ask you friendly folks. At what level are chapters no longer supposed to be named, but numbered? I tried going through my own collection, and it seems to vary. Lord of the Rings has titled chapters, but has the world of literature changed since then? Eragon has titled chapters, but lets face it... he was self-published so he's not a good example. Harry Potter is considered children's literature and not YA so I can't judge on that (please no one harrass me on that. One agent was very specific about that). I read a lot of Koontz and he'll title sections and number the chapters, but he's hardly YA (nor was Lord of the Rings, I know). I don't read all genre of YA, so can you folks enlighten me, please? Chapter titles and content page a no-no or are they okay to have in YA?
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Re: Chapters in a Book

Post by LydiaSharp » February 3rd, 2010, 4:30 pm

I'm not sure about YA, but I still see chapter titles, section titles, and tables of contents in science fiction and fantasy all the time. And not just in old writing. I'm talking about novels that were released in '09. Some don't, though. I think you should do whatever works for the story. Chapter titles are cumbersome if they don't enhance the story in some way, or give it structure. As a reader, if I don't see the relevance of a title, it frustrates me and becomes a distraction. As a writer, I've used them and I've not used them. It depends on the needs of the individual project.

Just my two cents. :)
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Re: Chapters in a Book

Post by maybegenius » February 3rd, 2010, 7:00 pm

I don't think it matters, to be honest :) Twilight and its sequels all had named chapters, and that's obviously some fairly recent YA. As long as you're naming your chapters for a reason and not just because you think they should have names, I'm sure it's fine.
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Re: Chapters in a Book

Post by r louis scott » February 3rd, 2010, 8:56 pm

Let me ask you this, Christi:

Are you any good at giving your chapters titles? Because if you aren't, don't. Take it from me, there is nothing worse than your critique partner asking you to number the chapters because the titles give her headaches. I think this comes under the heading of "overthinking". I could be wrong, of course, like that time back in 1998 when I was wrong, but I think your agent and editor would guide you through this based on the imprint your book comes out under.

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Re: Chapters in a Book

Post by Kaitlyne » February 5th, 2010, 9:40 pm

It just depends on the story. I've read adult books with chapter titles before. If your story wants them, then why not go for it?

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Re: Chapters in a Book

Post by Bron » February 6th, 2010, 7:53 am

I tend not to like chapter titles because sometimes they can be a bit spoilery. Nothing major. I've never seen a chapter titled, "When the sidekick died and the hero nearly did but was saved". But let's say your characters had found a mysterious map at the end of one chapter. Then the next chapter is called "The treasure cave". You read that and think, 'Well, I know what that map leads to now'. So maybe that's something to consider if you do name your chapters.

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