Thursday, April 14, 2016

Short Chapters or Long Chapters?

Mara Was Here: Short Chapters Or Long Chapters? Which do you prefer?So, currently I’ve been writing an outline for my untitled novel. I don’t know if I’ll ever stick to this one, but the gist of it really appealed to me and I think it would be totally awesome to write about it, so I am. ‘Nuff said.

Moving on, as I was writing my outline, I realized something: Some of my chapters seemed a bit... short. I ended up writing more stuff into them to make it longer (yet still interesting), but then I thought, should chapters really be that long?

This eventually led me to Google stuff such as “Should chapters be long or short” or “Short or long chapters” or honestly any kind of search query that has the keywords “short”, “long”, and “chapters” into them.

Some websites say it depends on the writer, but that it should also fit well with the story. I mean, we wouldn’t want a book with 300-page chapters that’s supposed to be read by children, right? Kidding.

That statement made me think of books I’ve read with short and long chapters, but still had the proper length of a novel. For example, A Darker Shade Of Magic by VE Schwab. Her writing style is very interesting, and most of her chapters consist of 10-or-less pages (well, according to my iPad as I was reading it on iBooks). Then I recalled reading The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, which had a lot of pages in each chapter (which may or may not be because of the font size, but they’re still long either way). We could also add the Harry Potter series in here, which, I must admit, have pretty long chapters (and a tiny font!).

But, Mara, what’s your point?

My point is, if books had longer chapters, would readers be more interested to read it? Or would shorter chapters work better?

Eventually, I ended up making a tiny pros & cons list of both types of chapters:



  • Adds a bit of a thrill, especially if each ending is written well. 
  • Keeps readers reading again and again, since each chapter is only a few pages away to finish. 
  • It’s a pretty easy read. 
  • Less hesitation because it doesn’t take long to finish.


  • It can actually keep you up awake all night because each chapter just BEGS you to finish them, saying, “Oh, come on, I’m only five pages! Can’t you just finish me first before sleeping?” (Which might actually be a bit of a good thing for the author, but not so much for readers...? All right, this could actually be a "Pro.")
  • Plot holes might show up...?
  • Some chapters feel like filler chapters.
  • Short chapters could possibly get annoying?



  • More detailed.
  • The reader can connect more with the characters.
  • A lot of stuff is happening, which is good.


  • One might hesitate to read it because it’s sooo looong.
  • The story could drag on and on and eventually have scenes that aren’t relevant with the plot.
  • One might sleep in the middle of reading a chapter.
  • It could seriously hurt when you accidentally drop it on your face while reading.

That being said, I think there’s an unsaid rule that long chapters are better and more preferable? But I have found a few books with short ones, and yet still convey a good story.

I also made a (reaaaally) tiny poll on Twitter about this, and the following were the results:

Short or Long Chapters Poll Results | Mara Was Here

Apparently, most people don’t really mind if a chapter is long or short. In the end, I have no idea what’s better.

As for my outline, I’m just going to go with the flow and let my brain write however long it thinks is good for my story.

That’s why I’m asking you, dear reader – do you prefer longer chapters or shorter chapters, or can you live with either?
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Mara @ Mara Was Here

*Pops confetti* Congratulations, you've reached 'till the end of this post! I'm Mara, 15, and I love anything bookish and graphic designing. I also spend 90% of my life fawning over fictional boyfriends and smelling books. Thanks for hanging out at my blog! (And yes, that's me sniffing Six of Crows in our car.)

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