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Subdivisions Below Chapters? : Tips and Advice • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Subdivisions Below Chapters?

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Amateur Appalachian Author
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Subdivisions Below Chapters?

Postby Amateur Appalachian Author » Thu May 04, 2017 11:46 pm

I've been wondering this for a while.

I have a book I'm working on and I have a tendency to write rather long chapters. Now, the book does have an overarching and important story, but I initially imagined it being sort of "episodic," with chapters focusing on individual geographic locations and miniature stories within them. Sort of like an anthology, but with it all being linked through the same characters and plot. However, I realized as soon as Chapter 2 that this was going to result in some very long chapters, and one of the people I had to read it said even my Chapter 1 could do well to be split in two.

I was thinking, is there a possible compromise where I could subdivide the book into the individual stories (which currently are identified by names), and then numbered chapters within them? I'd like for chapters to not exceed 15 (in Microsoft Word), any more feels a bit excessive. But I feel like I'm already writing as lean as possible.

EDIT: "Parts" doesn't seem quite right to me, as I could see at least ten or more parts in the book. What I'm writing is, story-wise, like a high fantasy novel, but it's not in the fantasy genre.

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ostarella
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Re: Subdivisions Below Chapters?

Postby ostarella » Fri May 05, 2017 12:18 am

Just my personal opinion, but I think you need to decide if you're writing a novel or not. A novel is not a set of short stories, regardless of any overall arc. As to chapter length, it's more about connecting scenes and setting up the reader for the next "set" of scenes, the next logical step(s) in the development of the story. You don't write pages long paragraphs - take your cue from that regarding where chapters should begin and end. I will mention that a friend of mine (with a lot of books out there) doesn't divide her books into chapters until after she's finished writing everything else. Then she goes through it and finds the logical chapter breaks.

You might want to consider writing a series versus one book, as well. Not sure if your chapters/stories are that lengthy, but it's another option.
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Alice Clay
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Re: Subdivisions Below Chapters?

Postby Alice Clay » Sat May 06, 2017 6:38 pm

I'm already confused.

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DrG2
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Re: Subdivisions Below Chapters?

Postby DrG2 » Mon May 15, 2017 4:32 pm

It kind of depends on how long most of these chapters are.

Generally chapters are broken into scenes, which might be delimited (when published) by a blank line, a * or other symbol (or multiples of symbols) or occasionally by a tiny picture. If your chapters are mostly 20-60 pages, this could work.

If your chapters are much longer (100+ pages), they probably aren't aren't really chapters and you could call them books or sections or whatever and have chapters within these books.

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Re: Subdivisions Below Chapters?

Postby williamadams » Wed May 17, 2017 12:31 pm


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Re: Subdivisions Below Chapters?

Postby ClaraHadden » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:24 am

I'm currently reading "A Man Of Some Repute" by Elizabeth Edmonson and she subdivided every chapter in two or three "scenes" (Scene 1, Scene 2 and so on). It works even if the chapters aren't so long because there are so many POV characters, so you know that one specific "scene" will deal with one character's experiences, and the next "scene" even if it involves the same couple characters within the same scenario you know that the POV will be different. I think it's a clever system, maybe it'd work for you too?


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