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Zipotes
02-24-2009, 08:48 PM
Curious as to what you all do. Do you just number your chapters or do you give them a title reflecting the chapter? Do you put a piece of poetry or some verse at the start of every chapter?

scarletpeaches
02-24-2009, 08:50 PM
I don't even chapterise until the first draft's done. Then I number them.

The Rav
02-24-2009, 08:51 PM
I just number them and get on with it. I wouldn't be against naming the chapters if the book called for it, but so far it hasn't. :D

CaroGirl
02-24-2009, 08:53 PM
I number them as I go. I've never yet been inspired to give them titles. I suck at titles at the best of times, so to come up with one for each chapter gives me the heebie jeebies. Not gonna do it.

Aggy B.
02-24-2009, 08:54 PM
Most of what I've written doesn't call for naming chapters or the inclusion of additional text at the beginning. But I've had ideas for novels that do include quotes/poetry/etc at the beginning of each chapter.

Right now I just number each chapter and move on.

tehuti88
02-24-2009, 09:23 PM
Curious as to what you all do. Do you just number your chapters or do you give them a title reflecting the chapter?

For most of my works, I title the chapters when they're finished. (I. e., when I'm done writing the chapter, I then give it a title, because if I give it a title beforehand it'll just be disastrous. My childhood writing taught me that. :D ) I don't care to leave titles at just numbers. I find chapter titling to be just as much a part of the creative process as the writing itself. Plus it helps me keep track of what happens where, and it makes them look more interesting IMO.

Do you put a piece of poetry or some verse at the start of every chapter?

Ah, no. I'd find that terribly pretentious. Not to mention it'd be hard to find poetry that goes along with all my chapters!

Once in a great while I quote a song or something, but not at the beginning of every chapter, no.

job
02-24-2009, 09:46 PM
In the first book, I put a few lines from fictional diaries or journals at the head of the chapter. This was to expand the character and set scene and provide backstory, of course. But it was also, deliberately, to provide a 'period' feel. I was writing a 'Gothic' Historical Romance and I was following a long genre tradition of chapter headings.

The second and third book were not 'Gothics' but more Historical Suspense/Adventure. I didn't do anything but number the chapters.

So I might put a line or two of quote or verse at the head of a chapter if I thought it served a purpose and if it fit with the 'feel' of the book.

cethklein
02-24-2009, 10:08 PM
I just call every chapter "Chapter" and number them once I'm done. I do this as oftentimes i decide to re-arrange things a bit. I also rarely name chapters, it's too hard to come up with names in most cases, although in one WIP I'm doing so for now but this may be scrapped in favor of only numbers later on if I get picky (which i likely will)

Kathleen42
02-25-2009, 12:15 AM
Like tehuti88, I would find the poetry/prose pretentious.

Personally, I just write Chapter ??? at the beginning of each new chapter with the intention of going back and numbering them when I edit.

stormie
02-25-2009, 12:19 AM
I don't even chapterise until the first draft's done. Then I number them.
Hey, is that a new word--chapterise? Or is it chapterize? Or is it.... Never mind. I like it though. And I do the same thing.

vrabinec
02-25-2009, 12:29 AM
Hey, is that a new word--chapterise? Or is it chapterize? Or is it.... Never mind. I like it though. And I do the same thing.

Yeah, it's right after chapterlicious and before chapteryuck (words my Betas and I actually use when critquing each other)

Captshady
02-25-2009, 12:29 AM
I center, bold, and underline a roman numeral.

blacbird
02-25-2009, 12:32 AM
I guess I'm the odd one out. I usually title. But only because the narrative style I tend to write in lends itself to that. Truthfully, I don't think it matters one way or the other.

caw

Eldritch
02-25-2009, 12:43 AM
I chapter title too. The stranger and more intriguing, the better.

Feidb
02-25-2009, 12:49 AM
I'd thought of naming chapters, but it just never panned out. To me, it restricted the chapters and can make the reader focus on that aspect alone and maybe miss something else. I'd rather keep it neutral with a number and let them draw their own conclusions.

I've also played with just scene breaks, no numbers. I've seen it done and it actually worked pretty well, however, I like chapters better, and I can't explain why.

I've also toyed with putting a date, or time, or location on each numbered chapter, like James Rollins and a few others. In a way, that keeps you attuned to the sequence. However, when I think of how I read, I usually gnore dates, times, numbers, and titles. Most of the time all of that detail does nothing for me. If it's only done at key points, I'm more likely to pay attention.

In the end, I number my chapters. If there is a prologue, I'll have a date and maybe time or location. Chapter 1 starts with "Present day."

In my latest icky bug, I have chapters but each chunk of chapters starts with a day. This story takes place over a week.

In my latest sci-fi thriller, I name major sections and have chapter numbers within each section.

You see? I can't even make up my mind! I guess, whatever fits.

scarletpeaches
02-25-2009, 12:55 AM
Hey, is that a new word--chapterise? Or is it chapterize? Or is it.... Never mind. I like it though. And I do the same thing.

I invent words as I see fit
and use an 'S' because I are Brit. :D

citymouse
02-25-2009, 12:57 AM
I name my chapters and put them in a folder so named. I do that so I don't have to paw my way through numbered chapters looking for a something, e.g. Mary meets Joe. If I want to revisit that scene I don't want to try an remember in which chapter the meeting occurred.

As for adding a verse before each or some of the chapters goes, that would depend on whether it's my own verse or something from say, Decartes, or Milton. All I can say to that is be sure that what you write is as good or better than what is quoted. As I said if the verse is yours no problem.
Best of luck,
C

Curious as to what you all do. Do you just number your chapters or do you give them a title reflecting the chapter? Do you put a piece of poetry or some verse at the start of every chapter?

alyssalynne
02-25-2009, 01:03 AM
For my current WIP, they are just numbered.

euclid
02-25-2009, 01:21 AM
My early drafts had roman numerals for chapters, which seemed to go well with the period (1940-1942). But my sister couldn't handle these. She kept saying things like: "I've reach X-X-I-V". So I redid all chapters using normal numbers.

C.M.C.
02-25-2009, 01:43 AM
I like to name my chapters, but there's not really any reason behind it. I suppose I just don't like looking at the blank space under the words "Chapter X". A title makes the header look more fleshed out.

Zipotes
02-25-2009, 03:05 AM
OK, for those that DO title your chapters - do you also list all the names of the chapters at the beginning of the book?

nitaworm
02-25-2009, 03:18 AM
Ok, just call me type A. I always start with a broad outline (which is the Title of each chapter). Before I write the chapter, I outline every action in sentence form. It makes it very easy for me to make progress quickly. It also allows me to goof off at work and think about what I will be writing that night. I usually think on it all day, detail the chapter, then when I get home I can kick out 20 to 40 pages easily in one night without indept thought about plot. All the thought has been done. Now, I am only on my second novel. However, I write long, boring, technical documents all the time for work. I also have unreasonable deadlines, like a 140page single spaced techincal spec document, due in 2 months. This method is the way in which I have written them for going on sixteen years, and it works for me.

ClaudiaGray
02-25-2009, 03:21 AM
OK, for those that DO title your chapters - do you also list all the names of the chapters at the beginning of the book?

Don't worry about that -- layout is something for your publisher to consider. I wouldn't do that for my manuscript draft any more than I would include a table of contents.*

So far I have only numbered my chapters, but I would consider giving them titles if it seemed to work for another project.


*Would be different for a nonfiction proposal, but that's another thread

Swordswoman
02-25-2009, 03:40 AM
Like most of you, I only number my chapters - a quick whizz through my bookcase suggests that these days only children's books regularly have named chapters, though sci-fi, fantasy and related genres seem to include them quite often. In older days, everyone did it (from Dickens to Agatha Christie to Tolkien).

But I do give them secret names which are just for me, to make sure it's really a chapter I've got, and not just a random section of narrative. They'll be names like 'J realizes he's bitten off more than he can chew', or 'J finds out who he really is'. If my chapter title includes the words 'and' or 'then', then I know it's rubbish and needs rewriting.

I do avoid quotations, poetry etc. I'm sure better writers can make effective use of them, but if I did it I'd just be either being pretentious or trying to use someone else's words to do what my own are failing to achieve. I won't let myself go that road.

Yet... :D

DMarie84
02-25-2009, 03:50 AM
I just number them. Criminy, it's hard enough for me to come up with a decent title for the book, let alone a good one for every chapter.

Also, I've read quite a few books who put a little blurb of poetry or some relavant quote before their chapter; however most of the time I just skim them.

tehuti88
02-25-2009, 08:38 AM
OK, for those that DO title your chapters - do you also list all the names of the chapters at the beginning of the book?

I don't bother with this because I'm not submitting for publication. I do, however, have the chapter list (with links) on a contents page on my website.

Every time I start a new chapter, I just go "PART XXX (number here): UNTITLED" and title it when it's done. Sometimes the titles are dramatic, sometimes they're puns, sometimes they're taken from songs or movie titles or some such...all kinds of sources.

Matera the Mad
02-25-2009, 09:27 AM
I have a fondness for chapter titles. The title game is particularly amusing for me because I like to write humorous things. I sneak in subtle (?) puns when I can. The titles also serve as a skeletal outline for plot re-organization, synopsis hacking, and so on.

Chapter titles are nice mnemonic devices. A small incident today reminded me of one, from an old withdrawn fan-fic -- "Shooting From The Lip". :o I'd love to find an excuse to recycle it.

Henri Bauholz
02-25-2009, 11:46 AM
I enjoy naming chapters, for me it is an integral part of the writing. And that includes a Table of Contents at the beginning also. And maybe a Part 1,2 and 3 with each part getting a title too. Whew, that's a lot, ain't it.

Charlie Horse
02-25-2009, 06:52 PM
OK, for those that DO title your chapters - do you also list all the names of the chapters at the beginning of the book?

Sounds like you're thinking of a table of contents, which in the process of working on your manuscript, seems like a bit of overkill.

As for chapter number/title conventions, for me it depends on what the book I'm working on calls for. I've just started writing my fourth novel and so far it's been split. Two have had chapter titles, and two haven't. The two that did seemed like they needed them.

jubileerocker
02-25-2009, 06:53 PM
I've been titling mine on what I expect to happen in the chapter

scarletpeaches
02-25-2009, 07:14 PM
Doesn't that rather give away the plot, though?

Shadow_Ferret
02-25-2009, 07:21 PM
I just number them. I have a hard enough time thinking of a title for the whole shebang without coming up with 35 individual titles in addition!

Raynfall
02-25-2009, 07:26 PM
Me, personally, I both number and title them. The crux of titling, for me, is choosing when it's a hint to the chapter's content, and when it's just a pretty name. It's especially fun if you can make the reader think it's about something, but turns out to mean something else.

dwellerofthedeep
02-25-2009, 07:47 PM
I like to title even the smallest parts of my stories but I do not plan on using any of those titles in publication. I prefer to read books without chapter titles.

RainbowDragon
02-25-2009, 11:28 PM
Chapter titles don't give away the plot if they're vague enough. They intrigue. They give you a hint of what's coming, but not the details.

Without a table of contents and without looking ahead, they don't tell you any more than you already expect, generally.

Of course that would be the comment of a chapter-titler. I also like short chapters so a lot of mine are under 10 pages.

Lordofthehunt
02-26-2009, 12:08 AM
I like to title the chapters. It lends a certain amount of anticipation to what you're reading, if the titles are good. They can also be used to lead a reader in a certain direction, either to emphasize something or slip something past them.

Swordswoman
02-26-2009, 12:18 AM
I like to title even the smallest parts of my stories but I do not plan on using any of those titles in publication. I prefer to read books without chapter titles.

That's me too.

I like to title the chapters. It lends a certain amount of anticipation to what you're reading, if the titles are good. They can also be used to lead a reader in a certain direction, either to emphasize something or slip something past them.

Hi, Lordofthehunt, and welcome to AW! :welcome:

You're absolutely right, of course, but I admit that's why I don't actually use them. When I worked in TV, the mantra was always 'remember you're not using subtitles', and I guess it's stuck. The minute I can use titles to help the reader see what I want to see, instead of doing it in the writing, is the minute I get sloppy.

That's not to criticize you, or anyone else who uses them. It's my own naturally lazy mentality I need to curb.

Prawn
02-26-2009, 07:26 AM
I use chapter titles.

jubileerocker
02-26-2009, 09:39 AM
Giving a clue of what's going to happen, I don't see how that kills a plot, the question becomes how is it going to happen OR, what is going to happen because of it