To Chapter or Not To Chapter?

to chapter or not to chapterWhen I read Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett for my reading group a few months ago, I noticed something that none of my friends did: Pratchett doesn’t use chapters. Rather, big sections are differed between by a mark on the page, but the next section doesn’t start at the top of the next. You might have seen this in books with chapters: a little asterisk in the middle of the page, indicating moving on… Kind of like this:

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Look familiar?

When writing, you basically have the complete (well, almost, unless your agent/editor decides to change it, but it is your book…) on how to present it on the inside. So, you can have chapters, or you can choose not to. You might have loads of chapters with only a few lines in between, or choose to not have chapters but have section breakers instead. All of these have their own strengths and weaknesses and a lot of it does depend on the book you’re writing.

Most people assume: books = chapters. But that isn’t always the case. So, when writing your next book, why not think of doing something else, something different? If, for example, you’re writing a fantasy or dystopia, you might find it easier to use section headings instead. In 1984, George Orwell did something similar having a “Part I” and “Part II”, with no chapters in those parts, and used asterisks like Pratchett. Tolkien, however, has long chapters, which are clearly defined as such.

The greats broke the rules, and so can you, so, if it works for you and for your book, why not think about something different in your writing?

Two Chapter 1’s & Titles

So my NaNoWriMo is going…well. I’m not even going to go into that. It’s going, is all I can say.

But, now, I officially have two chapter ones.

One chapter for my original fiction.

And one for my Teen Wolf fiction.

Yay!

But I was wondering how to do chapter titles. In some books, like Heroes of Olympus, the title is the name of the narrator – eg Annabeth, or Jason. But in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the chapter titles were something different, like “I blow up my school” (example, I don’t actually know if that’s one of them!).

Using things like ‘I’ as chapter titles (Roman numerals etc) is good because it doesn’t take away from the story. However, if it’s meant to mean something (maybe you put a quote for the title or something like that) then it would work. Just whatever works for your story, really.

That was a pointless piece of information/tips, but I was wondering: what do you guys name your chapters?

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