How long should a chapter be?

TheTrinary

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Dear readers,

How long should a chapter be? My chapters are around 5k each and I'm just worried that is a little bit too much for something in this format.

Would it be beneficial to submit chapters in like a part a/ part b format for the longer ones? (If there is a natural break).

What do you think?
 

K5Rakitan

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It's completely up to you. Lots of readers prefer longer chapters, and mine used to be about 2k, but now my placenta and my fetus are making life difficult for me, so I'm shooting for at least 500 words to keep on top of my update schedule.
 

CL

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Dear readers,

How long should a chapter be? My chapters are around 5k each and I'm just worried that is a little bit too much for something in this format.

Would it be beneficial to submit chapters in like a part a/ part b format for the longer ones? (If there is a natural break).

What do you think?
I've been told that a 2k word count is well rounded. Not too much, not too little, just right. There are some authors who are publishing their 1k chapters for quantity (pretty much daily at most or twice/thrice in a week uploads). Other authors are focusing all their efforts into one big chapter (think 10k or more) before they publish it (expect those at least once a month).
 

Discount_Blade

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To most I've noticed, 3k is the general average. To me, I consider it the bare minimum but I'm a minority on that topic with that opinion. I find anything less than 2k is not a real chapter. Therefore anytime I find something with short chapters, meaning 1k or whatever, I drop it. 1k is NOT enough to have proper amounts of events + description+ developments. I don't care what anyone else says, it's not and that WILL be the hill I die on if need be.

I also find 2k to be too short, but if I dropped everything 2k I'd read hardly anything on SH or RR or anywhere else for that matter that hosts webnovels, so I compromise out of necessity on 2k. Still, 3k is my bare minimum (personally) but I tend to myself, write from 4k to 7k on average.
 
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My first arc's later chapters went as high as 6k. But then, I decided to keep my word counts on the 2nd arc @ around 3k to 4k max. Easier to read and 'digest'.
 
D

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To most I've noticed, 3k is the general average. To me, I consider it the bare minimum but I'm a minority on that topic with that opinion. I find anything less than 2k is not a real chapter. Therefore anytime I find something with short chapters, meaning 1k or whatever, I drop it. 1k is NOT enough to have proper amounts of events + description+ developments. I don't care what anyone else says, it's not and that WILL be the hill I die on if need be.

I also find 2k to be too short, but if I dropped everything 2k I'd read hardly anything on SH or RR or anywhere else for that matter, so I compromise out of necessity on 2k. Still, 3k is my bare minimum (personally) but I tend to myself, write from 4k to 7k on average.
Especially if the story is fantasy/sci-fi; it's kind of hard to keep the word count per chapter to 1k-2k range. Lots of world building and/or concepts to be explained.
 

Discount_Blade

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Especially if the story is fantasy/sci-fi; it's kind of hard to keep the word count per chapter to 1k-2k range. Lots of world building and/or concepts to be explained.
I completely agree. Sadly, you and I both know people write fantasy with short ass fake-chapters. Usually, by removing ANY and ALL description. A lot of these also tend to be very dialogue-heavy, which I dislike but only out of personal preference, not because I find a problem with it. Still, most of the time, even the dialogue is piss-poor in short chapters. If it was good, intriguing dialogue scenes...it might would make up for no development and description. I mean, not forever....but it would help me last a few more chapters before I inevitably dropped it. But never have I read anything that had such short chapters BUT was saved by great dialogue.

To me, its laziness in chapter length, which then goes on to become laziness/weakness in everything else.
 
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Sylvie

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As far as I've seen, chapters less then 2k words feel kind of short. In published novels, longer chapters are very common with some books that I have seen having chapters that go even up to 8k or so words.
As far as novels on Scribblehub go, I think people appreciate longer chapters quite a bit. After reading loads and heaps of stories with 1-2k chapters, reading longer chapters feels refreshing and in my personal opinion, stories with longer chapters make me feel like all chapters are integral to the plot whereas I can just throw out a bunch of chapters out of a story which has very small chapters without affecting the plot at all.
 
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I completely agree. Sadly, you and I both know people write fantasy with short ass fake-chapters. Usually, by removing ANY and ALL description. A lot of these also tend to be very dialogue-heavy, which I dislike but only out of personal preference, not because I find a problem with it. Still, most of the time, even the dialogue is piss-poor in short chapters. If it was good, intriguing dialogue scenes...it might would make up for no development and description. I mean, not forever....but it would help me last a few more chapters before I inevitably dropped it. But rarely have I read anything that had such short chapters BUT was saved by great dialogue.

To me, its laziness in chapter length, which then goes on to become laziness/weakness in everything else.
Unfortunately though, some sites encourage the 1k-1.5k range. I know a few 'famous' ones that did, and I have to remove my work. They reason that it's because readers' attention is hard to keep; I'd say, I agree with you that some are lazy.
 

Discount_Blade

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Unfortunately though, some sites encourage the 1k-1.5k range. I know a few 'famous' ones that did, and I have to remove my work. They reason that it's because readers' attention is hard to keep; I'd say, I agree with you that some are lazy.
If a reader's attention is hard to keep and you have to write 1k chapters....than as far as I'm concerned, they aren't readers. I wouldn't know what to call them, but definitely not people who enjoy reading. I wouldn't want such people claiming they enjoyed something I wrote anyway. I've had people ask me to shorten my chapters before. My answer was simple. "If you don't like the formatting of my writing, and want me to condense my length and the way I use descriptions and pacing, than you aren't my ideal audience and I have no reason to listen to any of your suggestions."

A few left after I said this, others stayed. It means nothing to me either way. They aren't and never will be, my priority.

This is the problem major publishers are having lately. They are trying to "please everyone" which inevitably includes many people who aren't even the typical audience and are only interested in the material for a narrow reason, or are trying to subtly alter the content more to their tastes. This always ends up alienating the original target audience who stuck with them from the very beginning, when it should be the original audience that matters most especially since, being a major publisher and all, they were financially successful already.
 
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TheTrinary

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This is all really good information. Thanks for all the replies. So fast too.
 
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Valmond

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1. Depends on your target audience.

This applies only if you are really critical of specifics. If not, then you can pretty much skip past this.

2. Depends on the genre.

For instance, a fantasy story cannot be fully engaged in less than 2k words. It incorporates many elements, one of the major ones is world building. It gets even larger if you have a solid division between elements. This can stretch on and on. Even if you are very critical of keeping the story concentrated. One of my books, I have a chapter about 20k words long(broken off into multiple parts naturally).

3. If working with a specific site. It may depend on the platform. However, if this means little to you. Then like number one, you can skip past this. The platform itself may influence what is generally taken well. Personally for myself however. If you have gone to school, even up to high school or early college. There is a certain tolerance level for those who like to read. To where it does not matter. If you get tired, just put it down, and pick it up later. You don’t gotta read it all in one day.

These are really just the main three I can identify. It really does not matter much. If the chapter is incredibly long, just break it up into multiple parts. Just write the best you can, otherwise, you won’t be able to make any meaningful improvements.
 

Malonymous

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Business-wise, for webnovels, you want as few words as you can get away with. More chapters = More frontpage visibility = More views.
Beat me to it lol.

But it really depends on what your goal is for your novel.

If you're looking to maximize potential readers, the system does favor shorter chapters. Heck, the top 4 novels this week in readers gained have an average of ~1k words per chapter, it's just the way it goes. You'll probably attract a different crowd going for chapters that short, but you know what I mean :blob_wink:

If you just want to make your novel as awesome as it can be, keep doing whatever you and your readers enjoy. Getting immersed in long chapters in a really good novel is awesome too. It's kinda funny that there are people with different attention spans who favor one over the other like that, unfortunately there's no extra time on the front page for extra lengthy chapters if your goal is exposure.
 
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