15.07: Creating Chapters

Your Hosts: Brandon, Victoria, Dan, and Howard

How do you create chapters? What are the rules for carving your manuscript into numbered chunks? Is chaptering part of your outline, is it something you discover while you write, or is it something else entirely?

In this episode we talk about how we do it, and how we think about it while it’s being done.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson and mastered by Alex Jackson


Takes something you’ve written, and put the chapter breaks in new places.

Docile, by K.M. Sparza (releases in March 2020)

7 thoughts on “15.07: Creating Chapters”

  1. This brings up a question for me, or a theme to discuss: chapter titles. And titles in general, particularly book titles if you’re writing a series.

      1. Too sweeping by far. Chapter titles and chapter bumps (those blocks of text from “encyclopedia fantastica” or whatever at the top of a chapter) can work in any genre. They’re certainly more common in middle-grade and YA, but that’s not call for a hard-and-fast “don’t do this unless” rule.

        Safer to say “your publisher may want to remove chapter titles, depending on how they plan to position the book.”

      2. An obvious counter-example to your statement, Kai: The Stormlight Archive has chapter titles and epigraphs, and it’s not YA. :)
        I’ve written books with and without chapter titles (never done epigraphs though), and I like having them. I feel like they help pull the reader forward.

  2. I totally agree with you just kinda learn to feel the chapters out. I write MG and when I started I made all my chapters roughly 2000 words, but as I wrote more I stopped counting words. Now, as I write it just kinda hits me and I think “oh, this would be a good stop for a chapter.”

  3. The fantasy foursome, Brandon, Victoria, Dan, and Howard, broke up the episode into several chunks, talking about cutting cheese or forming chapters like short stories, using chapters as building blocks, The chapter break or page turn and a new beginning, tying beginnings and endings together, cliffhangers or not, and how much of a meal does your chapter feed you? All kinds of wonderful thoughts about shaping chapters, and what you can do with them. Go read all about it in the transcript available now in the archives.

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