Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chapter Titles

First, I want to point out how good I’ve been at updating this thing. Go me.

Second, I want to say that my last word count was more than 2x normal, which means I’m finally out of my “this part of the book sucks” slump.

Third, TR may actually be longer than TOS, which was 169k. That would be insane. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.*

Okay, so here are my thoughts on chapter titles. They can be cool. I don’t use them.

Well, I did, but now I don’t. The Oracle Seals has chapter titles. CSH and TR don’t. I don’t think they’re really necessary. David Farland recently said that he supports them—they can pique the reader’s interest in the next chapter. And yes, they can. (Though honestly, sometimes his chapter titles spoil more than pique.)

It’s kind of fun to come up with titles for chapters, but I hope my prose will keep the reader going on its own. I don’t know—I’m actually on the fence on this one. Perhaps it just depends on what I’m writing.

What are your opinions on chapter titles?

Excerpt of the day:
“We’ve got to get out of here,” Todorov said, dropping the limp stem. “Goads, what do I do?”
“What—” Esrov whispered, but Todorov quickly hushed him.
The was a long pause before Todorov spoke again, dropping his head. “You spirited again, you fish-gutter. Idiot. They
saw you.”
The Raimos, chapter 24

*And, of course, I won’t count up my words until I’m finished.


  1. Honestly? I never notice the chapter titles when I'm reading a book. Ever. Then again, I also don't really pay too much attention to the cover art, either, so maybe I'm just unobservant. But for me, the important thing is the writing, so I'm usually too absorbed in that to notice much else.

  2. I don't do chapter titles as much anymore. I did in my first book and in Paradise Seekers, and I've been experimenting with them in Effulgent Corruption (though, in PS they were just titles, with "Day X-" instead of "Chapter x-", and in Effulgent Corruption it's just a title "Zahed, Marked, etc."

    I think that's how it should be done (granted, this is me talking). Either just go with the number, or just go with the title.

    Something I almost ALWAYS do, however, is break my book into titled parts (with numbers), so maybe I'm trying to get the best of both worlds.

    I think it's something authors dwell on and readers don't give a crap about. As evidenced by my wife's post above. :P

  3. Unless it's Winnie the Pooh, I don't pay much attention to title chapters--or numbers, for that matter. I tried writing with chapter titles once, but it sounded so silly to me that in the next draft, I got rid of them all.

    If the only hook you've got going for you is the chapter title, I think you're doing something wrong.