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Writing Books/What defines chapters

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Question
I'm writing a memoir and I'm used to writing screenplays so I have no idea when to stop a chapter and when to start another.

Thanks so much.

Answer
Hi, Lynn!

A chapter is defined as a break in the action--sort of like a scene break in screenplays or an Act in stage plays. It's best used to add tension or take a break after tension. For example, you can end a chapter in the middle of a crisis to raise tension:

"He watched as the sword swept toward him. This could be the end." -- Chapter Break

Or at the end of a crisis to let the reader know they can relax:

"I was exhausted. The only thing I wanted to do after that battle was crawl into bed." -- Chapter Break

You can then move forward in time or change character point of view without it being confusing to the reader.

Does that help any, or just raise more questions? Let me know if I can help further and good luck!

Cathy  

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Cathy Clamp

Expertise

I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.

Experience

I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Organizations
Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Publications
Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

Education/Credentials
My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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