Re: RARA-AVIS: How important are chapters?

From: Allan Guthrie (
Date: 01 Jul 2008

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    As a reader, I don't mind at all. I'm perfectly happy to accept the convention. As a writer, latterly I've tried to avoid numbering chapters because, as you say, Rob, it's pointless. Perhaps if we counted backwards there'd be some sense to it -- you'd know you were getting closer to the end and there might even be some associated tension as a bonus. But counting forward to a random number? Page numbers already do that. I did use numbered chapters in one book, but I can't say I had much of an opinion on the matter at the time so never gave it any thought. In another book, I gave each chapter a short, meaningful title instead, but my editor convinced me that there were too many chapters for it to work, so the headers never made it to print. I can't think of a good reason for incrementally numbered chapters. Although that's not to say there isn't one.


    ----- Original Message ----- From: "Rob Kantner" <>

    > But I've had the thought, in working on the new one -- how important
    > is it to break a book into chapters? If you have episodes with an
    > obvious break in between them, what is the point of also designating
    > chapters with numbers, etc.? Back in the day, chapters often had
    > titles, which when done right provided another element of suspense.
    > That's not done much any more (and I've never done it).

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