We are of the opinion that book chapters should not be too long. Most readers want to finish a chapter in one sitting without struggling too much. There’s something very satisfying about closing the book at the end of the day, having moved the page marker forward a predefined amount. Have you ever tried to read a book that does not have clearly defined chapters? It can be very annoying when you come back to it and try to pick up where you left off when there are no clear breaks!
If the chapters are too long, two bad things can happen: Your readers may get bored, put the book down and never return! That’s very bad… but even worse, they may start to poke holes in your story!
Our favorite books of any kind are:
- Always set up with well planned chapters.
- Easy to read. After all, we are reading for pleasure. We want to be carried off so that we can get lost in the story, right?
- Flow smoothly from chapter to chapter.
- Are full of interesting and well developed characters that are easy to have feelings for, good or ill.
- Teach us something new and provocative.
Of course, different readers have different requirements for the types of books they love to read. But, can we agree that each chapter should move the story forward? We, as writers, can use a variety of techniques to accomplish this such as: the flash back to shed light on current circumstances; a scene filled with dialogue between two important characters; description of pivotal action or even someone’s thoughts. The end of a chapter should ideally leave the reader wanting more and also more informed about the plot and characters.