Thursday, November 5, 2009

What Does a Chapter Make?

I'm deep in writing production mode, cranking out a few words a day. I subscribe to the philosophy "write one word per day", expecting if I write one word, more will follow, but if I set the goal too high (some write 2000+ words/day) I will fail miserably and end up in a nice white room with no hard surfaces. My one word per day is rather loose: I'm allowed to write down one idea or outline a chapter or scene, or write an actual word that may appear in the actual finished product. This method words because I am inspired by the first word to continue with a second word, then a third, and so on.

Today's question, what does a chapter make, is about words. How many words do you consider necessary for a 'regular', 'average' chapter? I've seen chapters as short as one word, and as long as half a book. Most of my chapters in the work-in-progress are 7-10 pages long, which translates to 1750 - 2500 words per chapter. The latest guide I read suggests 18-20 pages per chapter, but since I can't sustain a thought or scene quite that long, I will write twice as many chapters. Or maybe not.

I may not have a clear point here, but I will say this: If you are a writer, struggling with appropriate word counts and page counts, take it from me--stop counting! Be creative, let it flow, write a word per day. Reread, revise, rewrite, add scenes, delete lines, etc.

Remember, I've yet to publish a fiction title. Take the above advice with a grain of salt and a shot of your favorite beverage.

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