Chapter Preference - Long or Short?

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Chapter Preference - Long or Short?

Post by trulov » Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:43 pm

Calling all readers:

What type of chapters do you generally prefer?

Long - filled with details, action and developments so you get the story as fast as possible.
Or short - still has lots of details, and action - but since the chapters are broken up, you have some time and space to process the information as it's given.

This is something I always struggle with as an author.

When I'm reading a fic, I sometimes prefer shorter parts - particularly if there is a lot of detailed dialogue or a major plot development. It gives me the time to really absorb what's happened in the story. And it insures I don't miss anything by "skimming." But I also like shorter parts posted every few days. This way, there's no problem with continuity or forgetting what happened in the last part. If more time will be taken between chapters, then I usually prefer longer.

Still, I'm wondering what others think. I think having some insight into others opinions will make my stories better.

So which is it - no such thing as too long? Or briefly organized by topic?

Any comments are greatly appreciated.


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Re: Chapter Preference - Long or Short?

Post by nibbles2 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:26 pm

I'm greedy, if I like a fic then I want long chapters. If it's being updated regularly, then the length of the chapters wouldn't matter so much, but if I've waited a few weeks/months for a chapter then I want it to be full and meaty.

But I think too that it depends on the style of the fic. If it's an epic, melodrama-esque fic then it kind of has to be long chapters while fics with a more stylised style of writing usually work better when they're shorter.

If there's a lot of detail or exposition being thrown at a reader, it probably should be kept short but those types of chapters usually end up being the longest because there's so much to put it and explain. It can be tricky to get right.

I think when you're reading a fic in instalments, each chapter has to be a self contained unit - it has to have a beginning and an end and doesn't just stop when the author has reached a particular word length or something. As a reader it annoys me when a chapter stops in the middle of a scene - Not a cliffhanger situation - but it just stops in the middle of a conversation and then the next chapter takes up from that point. But that's just a personal preference.

Generally, when I'm writing, I decide that X, Y and Z are going to happen in each chapter and end it once I've covered those points, no matter the length. I think when I started writing I tried for around eight pages per chapter, now I'm hitting twice that.

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Re: Chapter Preference - Long or Short?

Post by April » Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:20 pm

BB said pretty much everything I wanted to say, only much more eloquently. :)

I suppose that, as an author, I'm always trying to leave each chapter off on some kind of memorable ending: whether it's a dramatic scene, a funny line, or (my personal favorite) a cliffhanger, I try to end it in a place where readers will be saying, "OMG, what's going to happen next?" As a reader . . . I guess I like the same thing, come to think of it. I like it when I feel compelled to keep reading. I'm addicted to the suspense, the edge of your seat feeling, the not knowing what's going to happen next. So as long as I get that feeling, the length of the chapter doesn't seem to matter as much. Quality > quantity, I guess you could say.

On average, my chapters tend to hit around 14 pages. Seems like a nice middle-of-the-road number.


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Re: Chapter Preference - Long or Short?

Post by Misha » Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:00 pm

I prefer long chapters to read. There is this fic in another fandom, where the author would post 80 pages at once... ah, it would take me five hours to read it, but darn! do I love it! And then she would go and post six pages, and it would still feel so amazing!

In truth, it's the story that should tell you how long or short a chapter should be. I remember the epilogue in The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Strauss. It's one line. One sentence, really. And it was such an amazing ending, that one line. There was also a part in The Tommyknockers, where the chapters were divided in parts. And it was something like:

Part 4: this and that.... full part... "and he was sure he was right."
Part 5. He was wrong.
Part 6. the next full part....

It was such an important thing that the character was wrong, that it needed the part all by itself.

As a writer, I always aim for 8 pages or 5,000 words, but sometimes the chapters need more or need less. You have to end them where they feel right. It's more obvious in an actual completed work than a weekly fanfic posting, sure, but you gotta tell the story right :)
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Re: Chapter Preference - Long or Short?

Post by Alien_Friend » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:36 am

I like reading long updates. Particularly like BB it has to has a distinct beginning, middle, and end. I like when there you can tell the point of a chapter and what it is trying to accomplish and reveal more about the characters or the plot. I especially like in stories about all the characters when you can tell the presences of everyone and how they fit in even if you aren't particularly focusing on them for that chapter or whatever. That way there is something there for everyone and people can feel compelled to comment on one thing if not everything.

Most of all I'm greedy :lol: and when I love a story I want lots of it especially when it can't be updated too often.

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Re: Chapter Preference - Long or Short?

Post by begonia9508 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:21 pm

It doesn't change anything for me because I make it a point of honor to give FB each time to the stories and autors I follow.

The difference will be that, the longer the story is, the more stuff I will have to refer...

What is more important to me, is that I have something to read and which makes me react!

Sorry for the words choices but I tried my best!

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- On reconnaît le bonheur au bruit qu'il fait quand il s'en va!
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Re: Chapter Preference - Long or Short?

Post by KiaraAlexisKlay » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:47 pm

As a lurker, I LOVE having longer chapters, just so I have something to read, and the longer the better. I am greedy that way, as someone earlier said :lol:

As an author ... it depends upon the story. I like to give a mid-size chapter as often as possible, but I, too, try to have self contained chapters, or at least a set goal of what that update is to accomplish. I am a very detail oriented person, I have outlines, and outlines of chapter outlines as well as overall plot outlines, so having a format to follow is important to me.

If I am writing a one-shot, I try to make it as long as I can without sacrificing my story by making it either too short or too drawn out. A happy medium is a fine line to walk, but as long as my readers are satisfied with the result than I am happy.

Personally, I find having a good mix works out the best. Depending ont he story, I start out with a couple shorter chapters, a few longer in the middle, and then some mid-size ones. This seems to be the most successful for me.

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Re: Chapter Preference - Long or Short?

Post by Michelle17 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:46 am

Hi all,

I love long chapters because it can give the author some space to work on the next chapter. When you do long chapters you also get to see the feedback and get ideas from your fans for things you may want to add. So things may even come up that you the author haven't thought of yet.

Special thanks too


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