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Naming your chapters - Yes or no?

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Ravioli

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I love chapter titles, but I understand your struggle! I think something perfectionists like myself and perhaps you, tend to struggle with, is to make the titles perfectly fitting, perfectly catchy, and consistent. And how sustainable is perfection? Allow yourself a bit of playfulness. For my signature novel, I liked picking elements from dialogue from that chapter or chapters relating to it, such as "Cancer Dog" or "The Bunny", in both cases metaphors used by other characters for the protagonist's mental state. Other chapters are named by things introduced in them, such as Curfew, or a new enemy's name. Another yet, is a sarcastic warning to the protagonist: "Wherein Nadir plays with Barbies", referring to an unpleasant female presence in his life.
Your chapter titles don't need to follow one pattern. One title can be a single term, another a phrase, why not? For optics, I just wouldn't put one word chapter titles between 2 full sentence ones.
 
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Lyrae

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When reading a medium-length book, I like the chapters having names. It's entertaining. But after a certain length, I'm too focused on the story to care much, unless I want to remember something that happened in that specific chapter (but if the story is quite long, I probably won't either way)

I'd say, if you're really running out of creative juices, leave the titles for later. If after some time, you still can't come up with anything, drop them. But it's really up to you since it's your own book.
 

Kat M

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I have nothing to contribute to this excellent discussion, other than my favorite chapter title of all time, from an older children's book:

"If You Don't Like Conversations in a Book, Skip This Chapter!"
 
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LisaH46

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I contemplated naming the chapters in my memoir but eventually decided against it. It is a fun exercise to think up what they could be, though! instead, I tried to make is so the first sentence/paragraph of the chapter let them know what it will be about.
 

dickson

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I have nothing to contribute to this excellent discussion, other than my favorite chapter title of all time, from an older children's book:

"If You Don't Like Conversations in a Book, Skip This Chapter!"
A favorite chapter title of mine is this one from Lord Dunsany’s The Charwoman’s Shadow: “In which Ramon Learns Something with which the Reader is already Acquainted,” to head the chapter in which Ramon learns to read.
 
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dickson

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I use chapter titles for different reasons. They can signal a change of scene or transition between narrative threads; they can foreshadow; they can raise a question in the reader’s mind.

They also give the author a source of innocent merriment. I resist the temptation to cite examples.
 
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Elenitsa

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I do name my chapters, and they sort of foreshadow sometimes and sort of not, I mean often they actually foreshadow something but you need to read it to understand what exactly. Anyway, it helps with knowing where you have left the previous reading session, so yes, I like titled chapters. And enough novels do it.

Some examples of mine? The Runaway (if you do not read it, you would not know who discovered what runaway), Three weddings and ...a quarter (read it to realise that it is about three weddings performed at the same time, after kidnapping a bride and her maid from going to the church to get married to a man of her parents' choice, that she didn't want - so that was the quarter of a wedding, because she was dressed as a bride, performed part of the rituals but not entered the church yet), The Sunflower (you need to read it to see that the sunflower is a girl with an unrequited love)...
 

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In retrospect, I guess I do name my chapters. One, Two, Three, Four.....
 

Sage

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I name chapters when I’m writing an MG, but usually not for older audiences. But I usually write first-person with multiple POV characters so I often throw a name at the top to orient the reader when I switch.

I’m another one who does name my scenes in Scrivener. It’s very important from an editing standpoint for me to have a way to find a scene fast to make changes. The names are meant to help me identify the scene, which is not necessary for a reader. Something like, “Spaghetti,” “Ren on the beach 2,” & “End of Solid” are not really good title material.
 

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