Short Or Long Chapters?

I like short chapters. Easy to read.

Today I was talking about the size of the ‘Dune’ novel, and other such treats, when the conversation turned to chapter size. It seems that my friends are very similar to me in thinking that chapter length is more important than book length. Books are organised into chapters for a reason and being able to read one chapter at a time is very handy. So the question I keep asking is – ‘What is your take on short vs long chapters?’

Do you like a long book?

After some discussion, we realised that if chapters are relatively short we don’t mind reading a slightly longer book than usual. Although we lean towards books that are 250 pages long, we will happily read anything up to about 400 pages so long as the chapters aren’t too overwhelming. One thing that came out amongst my friends was that short chapters are way more popular than long.

My book choices

I have started to really enjoy YA books and am indeed writing one myself. These books are usually less than 250 pages long. They also traditionally comprise of short chapters (usually 3 to 10 pages). Books with short chapters, like these, are easier to follow and pick up and put down.

There are plenty of novels that are around 400 pages that I have read recently too. I am a big fan of Joanne Harris and she often produces dramas that are around that length but I get totally engrossed, reading a chapter at a time.

Liane Moriarty also writes novels with mainly short chapters although hers vary. As I am reading her book, ‘Three Wishes’, I am finding that most of her chapters are about six pages long. The reason I like this so much is because they are each written about a different character. Also, I am able to read each chapter in short amounts of time, sometimes squeezing them in before appointments.

So what are your thoughts on all of this? Please comment below and consider following my blog for more similar content in future. For a previous post about reading, click here.

17 thoughts on “Short Or Long Chapters?

  1. I definitely don’t mind a long book because it lasts me a lot longer than a regular book so I feel like I get more bang for my buck that way!

  2. When it comes to story length, I find that stories should be as long as they need to be, really. As for chapters, well, I personally have come to prefer shorter ones over longer ones because at night when sleepiness starts to set in, it can be a bit of a hassle worrying about finding a good place to stop.

  3. I can’t say I’ve thought about or formed an opinion about how chapter length and book length might work together for how I get through a book. I do believe where chapters break can be a good tool for a writer to enhance reading, so if there are short chapters I’d hope it was purposeful to the story.

  4. Long or short chapters doesn’t matter to me. Most important is the author tells his/her readers clearly what they need to know, and the story is enjoyable to read.

  5. good question. I love short chapters (about 5-10 pages). if it is longer than that, I start getting annoyed. mainly because the end of a chapter is the perfect time for a break and I don’t like to stop reading mid chapter. and I do get bored easily and have been known to skip or skim passages just to finish the chapter.

  6. Hmm…I usually prefer reading longer books, but I haven’t really thought about chapter length. I think that it ultimately depends on what’s happening in a scene. So as long as the chapters have a natural flow and pacing I think I would be fine with either length.

  7. I dont really mind how long or short the chapters are. And even the number of pages of a book. As long as it interests me or I get hooked. I’ll go on reading.

  8. Book length doesn’t bother me, but long chapters do. I feel like my mind moves a mile a minute all the time and I can’t focus on one thing too long. With shorter chapters saying the words “one more chapter” becomes easier, and I might actually finish a book more quickly.

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