Question When should I begin a new chapter in my book? What determines a chapter?
Answer Dear Cordelia,
Good editors will often "re-chapter" your set chapters, because they have a professional understanding of the importance of how a book "flows," but generally, you should start a new chapter when you come to a kind of "pause" or "break" in the story.
It's really more of an instinctive thing; there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding when to begin or end a chapter -- I usually end a chapter when I want to move to another day, another scene, or pick up dialogue that I had left off earlier, a few chapters back.
It's almost like literally telling the story, as if you were speaking: you know when to pause, add reflection, and stop when you're talking to someone, describing something, etc., and the same kind of thing applies to written communication.
Again, it's a matter of instinct more than anything, really. One chapter can be two pages, and the next can be fifteen. It's not really as measured-out as it may seem.
Hope that helps, and thanks for writing!
Catherine Van Herrin
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Thank you. When I tell people that I am writing a book, I always get the question...How many chapters? (Smile)
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