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Thread: Psychology of chapter lengths?

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  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Crowned in Fireflies's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    The Black Pyramid at the End of Time

    Psychology of chapter lengths?

    I picked up a '96 Gaiman novel from the library a few days ago. I wasn't into it at first; the first chapter was mostly just establishing this guy's boring life status quo. I forced myself to read more, and by the fourth chapter, things were genuinely interesting, and it seemed like it was actually going somewhere. Even so, the thought of reading another chapter felt exhausting. I flipped through to preview the length of the chapter, and I checked back to see the length of the chapter I just read. One was like 25 pages, and the other was 32.

    Maybe it's just me, but chapter ends feel like the only appropriate places to stop when I read, so shorter chapters feel like less of a commitment. Less commitment means I'm more likely to start reading and more likely to read more overall.

    I notice in myself when it comes to streaming services. I love movies, and I pride myself on my taste in movies, but unless there's a movie I already wanted to watch, I'm way more likely to watch a TV show. I don't see movies as having appropriate places to stop, so while a show might be way longer than a 2 hour movie, it being broken up into episodes makes it much more approachable.

    The reason I'm making this post is I'm curious how common this is. Anyone else observe this behavior in themselves? I'm also wondering should I let this observation of myself influence how I divide my writing into chapters, and if there would be any harm in that.
    Last edited by Crowned in Fireflies; 07-17-2019 at 05:26 AM.

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