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Fantasy_Boy
07-02-2010, 05:29 PM
Hey all,

Just a quick question, how long should an average chapter be for a fantasy novel. My longest chapter is 4 pages. Any help is highly appreciative. Thanks

Danthia
07-02-2010, 05:35 PM
As my favorite creative writing teacher once said, the length of a pretty girl's skirt. Long enough to cover everything, but short enough to be interesting.

In other words, there's no right or wrong length. Break it up in a way that hooks the reader at the start, gives them something interesting so they want to see what happens next, and end with something that makes them want to turn the page. How many pages or words is up to you.

CaroGirl
07-02-2010, 05:36 PM
Hey all,

Just a quick question, how long should an average chapter be for a fantasy novel. My longest chapter is 4 pages. Any help is highly appreciative. Thanks
The answer is: Purple.

There is no standard length for chapters for any style or genre. It's as variable as the weather. As the old adage states: whatever works for your story.

Bufty
07-02-2010, 05:37 PM
Liam - just a quick reply. You've been writing for two years and have to ask a question like this?

Have you thought of picking up a fantasy book in a shop or library or off your bookshelf and using your flippin' eyes? I hope you have read a lot of fantasy if you intend writing in that genre.

Welcome. :welcome: (And I think you meant to say the help is 'appreciated' or that you would be 'appreciative'.)

Matera the Mad
07-02-2010, 05:49 PM
Four pages is a damn short long.

jvc
07-02-2010, 06:00 PM
Chapters can be any length. It is up to you. I've seen chapters of one page, one sentence and one word. I've also seen an entire book that is just one chapter. It really is up to you how long you want your chapters to be.

maestrowork
07-02-2010, 06:24 PM
Oh dear.

dpaterso
07-02-2010, 06:37 PM
Heh, this question pops up from time to time, along with gems like "How long should a paragraph be?" and "How long should a sentence be?" Expect good-natured ribbing and/or a trace of sarcasm in any or all replies. :)

Thread renamed for a little extra clarity.

-Derek

Polenth
07-02-2010, 07:13 PM
Though chapters can be any length as long as they work, your chapters sound unusually short. We can't tell you if that works for your story without seeing them. Given how short they are, you could post the first one or two in SYW to see if people think the length works.

maestrowork
07-02-2010, 07:29 PM
Six pages is not short. I have a chapter that is 2 pages long. It's the right length of that chapter. No more, no less.

Bufty
07-02-2010, 08:59 PM
Oh, gawd. Spare us. There's enough crap in SYW without guessing at whether or not a chapter's length 'works' out of context.

Though chapters can be any length as long as they work, your chapters sound unusually short. We can't tell you if that works for your story without seeing them. Given how short they are, you could post the first one or two in SYW to see if people think the length works.

Parametric
07-02-2010, 09:12 PM
Though chapters can be any length as long as they work, your chapters sound unusually short. We can't tell you if that works for your story without seeing them. Given how short they are, you could post the first one or two in SYW to see if people think the length works.

The longest chapter being 4 pages does sound kind of short, if you use the the 250-words-per-page rule of thumb, but the OP may not be familiar with that - his pages could all be 2000 words long. :tongue

Jamesaritchie
07-02-2010, 09:17 PM
It isn't length that matters, it's structure. If the chapter is a chapter, has, like the story as a whole, a beginning, a middle, and an end, the length is right, whether it's one page, or forty pages.

You only get into trouble with chapters when you start breaking them off at arbitrary points because you're afraid they're getting too long.

maestrowork
07-02-2010, 09:24 PM
The longest chapter being 4 pages does sound kind of short,

Don't tell James Patterson...

dpaterso
07-02-2010, 09:59 PM
Oh, gawd. Spare us. There's enough crap in SYW without guessing at whether or not a chapter's length 'works' out of context.
Tsk tsk. But it's work in progress crap, aspiring to get better!

-Derek

Polenth
07-02-2010, 10:06 PM
I'm being misinterpreted a bit, so I'm going to try this again with more waffle.

Short isn't a quality statement. If that were true, we'd boycott the term 'short story' because it's insulting them for being too short. A four page chapter is short in the fantasy genre, compared to average chapter length. Many fantasy books have a few short chapters, but it's not the average length and you don't usually see books that only have short chapters.

My concern wasn't that the book consisted entirely of short chapters, but that the original poster didn't know it wasn't average in the genre. That makes me wonder if they do work and are the right length, because it speaks of a lack of understanding of the genre (and of what makes a chapter the right length).

Oh, gawd. Spare us. There's enough crap in SYW without guessing at whether or not a chapter's length 'works' out of context.

I meant posting the first couple of chapters. I'm not recommending posting random chapters from the work.

Bufty
07-02-2010, 10:13 PM
Exactly! I knew somebody with a better education than I would have the precise phraseology for which I was searching. Thankyou for saving my neck.
;)

Tsk tsk. But it's work in progress crap, aspiring to get better!

-Derek

Gale Haut
07-02-2010, 10:14 PM
Hey all,

Just a quick question, how long should an average chapter be for a fantasy novel. My longest chapter is 4 pages. Any help is highly appreciative. Thanks

It would be okay for you to set a limit for yourself. But what every one has said here is true, that there's not a set word count or number of pages to a chapter. Even if you make your page count your chapter arc has to be rounded out before you call it quits.

Bufty
07-02-2010, 10:18 PM
Ah! Now I understand.

Old age, you know - catches up with me sometimes. Best excuse I ever had for feigning being dumb. ;)

I'm being misinterpreted a bit, so I'm going to try this again with more waffle.

Short isn't a quality statement. If that were true, we'd boycott the term 'short story' because it's insulting them for being too short. A four page chapter is short in the fantasy genre, compared to average chapter length. Many fantasy books have a few short chapters, but it's not the average length and you don't usually see books that only have short chapters.

My concern wasn't that the book consisted entirely of short chapters, but that the original poster didn't know it wasn't average in the genre. That makes me wonder if they do work and are the right length, because it speaks of a lack of understanding of the genre (and of what makes a chapter the right length).



I meant posting the first couple of chapters. I'm not recommending posting random chapters from the work.