Length Matters

I’m talking about chapters, of course. What did you think I meant? Really? Geez.

I’ll be blunt. I hate long chapters. When I read, I like to stop at a chapter break. I hate having to stop at some random paragraph because I don’t have time to finish the whole chapter. Then, when I return to it, I end up re-reading at least a page to get back into it. Good grief. #PettyReaderProblems

I take this into account when I write. I like short scenes and short chapters. If a scene gets long, I’ll split it.

Image result for book chapter meme

I think the main reason my scenes are naturally short is from my lack of description. I just don’t do it. I will rarely, if ever, describe the room my characters are in, unless there’s something worth telling or something that would be considered out of place or bizarre. Otherwise, a living room is a living room. You know what I mean? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this; it’s my writing style.

Describing characters has always been a challenge for me. Beyond eyes and hair. I got that down! Tyler’s hair is pretty much an additional character. I see my characters so clearly in my head, but that rarely transfers on the page. I didn’t even realize how blank my characters were until I was called out on it. To combat this, I scoured Pinterest for some pictures to stare at while I wrote. It was helpful to an extent. Give me dialogue any day. Sometimes I think I should just abandon novel writing for plays. Nothing but lines and some stage directions here and there. Yes.

Anyway, short chapters also help those with short attention spans, as I seem to have. Of course, there are plenty of variables, like the genre and topic of the scene itself. My novel has little use for any long, epic scenes. It’s not that kind of story. I think shorter scenes can pack a more powerful punch too. Short, sweet, and to the point, right? Maybe that’s why my blogs are short…except I rarely have a point.

This post in particular probably shouldn’t have even be written, let alone shared. Oh, well.

Readers should have the option. “Do I want to read another chapter? Maybe, maybe not.” Not, “OMG, how many more pages?”

But really, as a reader, it’s more of a time issue than anything else. I don’t dislike long chapters because they seem never-ending. It’s just, I got stuff to do, you know?

Is there a point in here somewhere? Yes. Writers, think about your audience. Consider their attention spans. Think about what else they may have lined up in their day. What about their bedtimes? Put in some scene breaks. As a courtesy. 😀

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