James Patterson and Robert B. Parker’s are 2 or 3 pages. Any Rand’s run as long as 35. Most writers are somewhere in between. Me, I’m always struggling with knowing when to end a chapter and start the next one.

In my research to find a rule for how long a chapter should be, I’ve discovered there isn’t one. There is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solution.

Some writers look at a chapter as a short story—each one has a goal for the characters, a miniature plot arc, a climactic moment and some sort of resolution that leads their characters onward.

Some folks put in a chapter break when the POV changes, the scene shifts or time changes. A writing instructor told her class to aim for your chapters to be at least 20 pages long. Other would-be authors count words—somewhere between 4,500 and 5,500 seems to be enough for them.

“there is one fundamental principle for chapter endings: Something should always be amiss.”

In her blog, Gail Carson Levine says there is one fundamental principle for chapter endings: “Something should always be amiss. If one problem has been solved, another should rise from the horizon or come forward from the background.”

For more of Levine’s useful tips on how to write those page-turning, chapter-ending lines. Visit http://gailcarsonlevine.blogspot.com/2009/11/end-of-chapter.html and when you get a second, tell me how you know when a chapter is a chapter.

 

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