Today’s Writing Tip

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to stop reading in the middle of a chapter. Thus, I will often press on, even when I’m ready to quit. However, if the chapter is inordinately long, I may make an exception. Readers who often read in short sessions, perhaps while waiting for a bus or in the dentist’s office, are likely to appreciate short chapters. On the other hand, marathon readers may not mind those that go one for a substantial number of pages.

I think it’s a good general rule to maintain comfortable chapter lengths. If you find a chapter has multiple section breaks, maybe you should start a new chapter instead. Readers like myself prefer to stop at a chapter’s end. If it drags on and on, it can be frustrating.

This is not to say that ending a chapter with a cliffhanger is verboten. Quite the opposite, you want your reader to keep turning the pages. The trick is to find the sweet spot between them. If the chapters are relatively short, it’s more likely your reader will go ahead and plunge into the next one than if its length looms over their head like a major commitment.

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