How to Write a Good Chapter

Since this is primarily a writing blog, I am excited to share an AMAZING writing website by the successful author, Vickie Britton.  She has all sorts of wonderful tips about writing a novel for publication.  I think so often, we all get so caught up in the writing itself that we forget to write for our audience, which is first and foremost, the agents and publishers.  If they are not captivated by our work, it will be rather difficult to share the story with the actual audience.  I hadn’t thought much about this before, but Ms. Britton shares great advice about the layout of the book – how many chapters, how many pages per chapter, etc.

Here is a summary of the post from here:

A chapter is like an episode from a continuing TV show. Each chapter should begin with some kind of action and end with a question to propel the reader onward.

-An average genre book has approximately 16-17 pages per chapter.

-A chapter should be just long enough to fully develop a scene.

-Each chapter should begin with a distinct scene…The scene’s job in a novel, much like a scene in a play, is to provide a setting and backdrop for the action that is unfolding right before the reader’s eyes.

-Each scene should ask a question to propel the reader forward in the story.

-Each chapter should center around one element or main event.

-The chapter should not answer its own question.  Instead, it should be answered in a following chapter to create suspense.

Tips for Developing a Strong Chapter

  • develop a strong scene by showing, not telling
  • add only the necessary characters to develop a scene
  • stick to the goal of the chapter
  • don’t get sidetracked by adding random scenes
  • end with a cliffhanger question