How Many Words in a Novel Chapter?

How many words in a chapter?

You’re writing your first novel, and you know you must shoot for around 80 to 95 thousand words. Once you know what your book will be about, it’s time to start planning the structure of the story. What will happen in each chapter, and how much has to happen before you move on to the next chapter? How many chapters will you need before you reach your target word count?

It’s Up to You – Within Reason

Before you decide your average chapter length, it’s a good idea to think about the purpose behind dividing a book into chapters. Think of it as a TV series or a play. Each chapter will consist of one or more scenes that contribute to the development of the story.

Unlike TV series, you aren’t limited to a certain amount of airtime, so some important scenes may require longer chapters. The important thing is to end each chapter at the end of a scene, allowing your reader to save the next “episode” for another time.

However, it doesn’t make much sense to have one chapter that takes up a major part of the book while other chapters are much shorter. Admittedly, some published authors have done just that, but your readers may find it a little odd.

Your audience may also play a role. For example, books for the youth market often have shorter chapters than those intended for adult readers. Again, it isn’t a rule, but if you’re writing for people with a short attention span, shorter chapters make sense.

How Long Are the Chapters in Books by Famous Authors?

Looking at what successful authors have done in the past is always a help. That’s why writers should always be readers too. Best-selling books show us what the public likes, and of course, we’re hoping that our own novels will be liked by the public. Let’s look at some chapter lengths, but remember that these are averages. In any of these books, some chapters are longer than others.

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has an average of 4,560 words per chapter.
  • Twilight uses about 4,580 words per chapter.
  • The Hunger Games uses 3,700-word chapters, dividing each chapter into three parts.

What Do Most Writers See as a Good Average Chapter Length?

The debate is ongoing. Some will tell you 2,500 words is the average, while others will say that 3,000 to 5,000 word chapters are more likely to be the norm. Most agree that under 1,000 words would be rather short and that over 5,000 might be rather too long. As a general guideline, chapters should be between 3,000 to 5,000 words.

All of them agree that the chapter length should be defined by the story and that any chapter length targets you decide on are merely guidelines. Most of them say that trying to keep the chapters within a certain length range is helpful to the reader.

Chapter Length Rule 1: There Are No Rules

Writers sometimes use extra-short chapters such as ones that are a sentence or two long for emphasis. The element of surprise at finding a chapter that consists of a sentence, or even just a word, will make readers sit up and take note. However, use this technique sparingly. It loses its effect if you regularly do it.

There’s also no real rule that says a chapter can’t be longer than 5,000 words. Daniel Defoe wrote the book Moll Flanders without dividing it into chapters at all, so in theory, you could say that the entire book consisted of just one chapter. However, as a new author, I’m not sure you would get away with that.

It’s the Story That Matters Most

Trying to pad out an uneventful chapter with thoughts or events that don’t contribute to your plot will bore your readers leaving them with the impression you’re waffling. Compressing a very exciting scene so you can meet your chapter word count target is also not going to do you any favors.

While the idea of chapters in the 3,000 to 5,000-word range is a good guideline when roughing out your book’s structure, it isn’t a rule, and the story itself should be the primary deciding factor. Build your plot through a series of events or scenes. Then decide for yourself where the chapter divisions will be. You may decide to include two or more scenes in a chapter, or you might stick to one scene per chapter. Just ensure that the division comes at a time when a reader could put the book down if they want a break. Of course, if you keep it exciting enough, your reader will want to know what will happen next, and might have trouble putting the book down at all.

  • I’m writing a novella and finding myself making the chapters really short. Pretty much each chapter is a single scene, and runs from roughly 1000-1800 words, but not over. I was planning to have fewer, longer chapters, but as I started writing, I settled on these shorter ones. And yet, I like the way it feels and I think the scenes are distinct enough in most places to warrant it. It also makes the book seem to run faster, I think. But I worry that one or two of the later chapters will be much longer, maybe even 2500 or 3000 words. Is this going to be a problem for readers, both the short chapters in general and the few that are longer than the rest?

    • In terms of chapter length, think about this: when a chapter ends it doesn’t necessarily mean that the reader will stop. I know I don’t stop just because a chapter ends. During exciting parts (when your chapters will get longer), a chapter break will be slightly detrimental since it’s a break in the action. I find my stories start small, then gradually get bigger. I don’t think you should have any problems. Hope this comment helps!

      • umm I am writing my fantesy novel . And I have thought about that my first 15 chapters will be short[700-800 ] where I explain the world as well as build the characters . After i complete my first 15 chapters i will give them the next 15 chapters with middle length [ 1400-1600] and after that all chapters which I will give them will be long [2000-3000] chapters due to my events are will be turn much bigger when it goes more deeper . Is it ok ?

          • What about more than that, but they switch between povs for each chapter and several of them have some kind of conflict throughout while others may be buildup?

        • If you are going to explain the world in that much detail, I would suggest doing something I saw recently in a movie, “Mom and Dad”. At several points in the movie during a climatic fight scene, the movie will suddenly pause and explain something rather mundane to create a ton of tension. For example, during one scene, characters run into their basement, and are surprised to find a destroyed pool table. Right as their attackers get close to them, the scene suddenly changes to an extended sequence 3 weeks earlier where the characters’ parents build and then destroy the pool table. It then once again very suddenly changes back to the current scene, as the characters flee in the room with the destroyed pool table. You could do something similar to this to both intrigue the reader and create tension. Say a character is hit with a spell the audience doesn’t know about yet, and the chapter ends. Instead of the chapter continuing the story, there is a short story explaining the backstory of the spell, before returning to our regularly scheduled events. Hope this helps!

    • In my opinion (I know it’s been a while, but I just found this) chapter length should be roughly the same throughout the book to keep a sense of uniformity, which readers will find comforting. Having mostly short chapters and one or two extra long ones may throw the reader out of the oacing and style of the book, and it will be hard for them to get back into stride. (Again, just my thoughts, take them or leave them)

    • Mine are usually short two so I try to add all the details and make sure I don’t miss anything and if it’s still short i combine two chapters.

  • Thank you for this little guide. I was unsure how long i needed the chapters to be. Ill definetly be using this in the future!


  • Well, this is pretty hard for me. As an amateur, I always thought that most chapters have at least less than 9,00 words. When in fact, I’m going OVER THE LINE. I find it strange that I find chapters less than 8,000 words that I write a bit short. For me, I find the chapter that I write less detailed if it’s at least 5,000 words long. Then again, maybe it’s just me. After all, I’m still beginning.

    • A novel with most chapters over 5000 words is unusual. You may want to consider editing to a lower number or dividing the chapters differently.

  • I find most ‘advice’ on this subject to be ill-informed. Chapter length is an arbitrary measurement. In this age of rapidly deteriorating attention spans the use of historical data is moot. Genre is an important component. It should be noted that all three examples in the article relate to fantasy. The fantasy genre requires authors to spend words describing items that to do not exist. Real world stories have no such requirement.

    Chapter length is merely a reader convenience and should be tuned to the target audience. Consider the Thriller reader who aims to consume a chapter whilst on the train on the way to work, another on the way home, and another before turning in. Pitch that against a Historical Fiction novel targetted towards a retired citizen who spends ever afternoon reading in the conservatory.

    I write thrillers. My latest has an average chapter length of 2200 words with the high being 3000.

    Of course structure and POV are relevant issues. Thrillers tend to use multiple concurrent story-lines. Tension is created by switching between them.

      • I hope not. My first six chapters are all about that long. I’m a novice so don’t take it from me but I think the pacing is more important than the word count. Don’t let the scene drag on just to me a quota.

        • There’s nothing wrong with longer chapters either. I read around half a book before bedtime sometimes the entire thing (sleep? What sleep?), so maybe I’m not the best person to ask though…

          • I have watched my twin finish entire novels he purchased in 4 hours. I read a novel 3 hours before a university exam and was the only student in my class to actually answer the essay for a 4.0 score. We both prefer chapters in the 8-10k range because we read at such a speed that we almost experience the books as movies. I also tend to write 10k chapters. I will generally go through 6 to 7 chapters of mine in a single night while proofreading and modifying the flow. Moral of the story, write however big you are comfortable, y’know.

          • I like writing short chapters but I agree with you, when reading books I like long chapters so I say, “One more chapter.” And each chapter is like 10-15 mins long. If it’s a short chapter and I’m like, “One more chapter.” Then 5 mins later I’m like, “Aw man! I’m not ready yet!”

      • My story has exactly the same problem most of my chapters are between 1000-1200 that’s how I found this page I was looking for how long a chapter had to be to qualify as a chapter

        • A flash fiction is about 100-1000 words maximum could be 1,500. When it comes down to novel or book write-up there are no specific amount of word count to qualify your write-up, all that matters is that your book should be passing an important message to the reader that’s not too confusing even if it’s going to have a cliffhanger for the next chapter to explain it.

      • ooh yes 1200 words very short. It also depends on what you target audience will be. Short chapters are good with Preteens and kids. However if your writing for adults 1200 words is ok every now and then but not thru out.

    • I love your input! I am trying my hand at writing a story that has been in my head for 20+ years and while “book” is a dirty word, I have been toying with the idea of adhering to the guidelines for the sake of future sanity. Learning that concurrent story-lines is a ‘thing’ makes me feel so much better about what I am naturally doing. Obviously, I am not much of a reader and your response has inspired me to pick up some thrillers for reference… but also, not to lose my original voice and aim. BTW I feel like one of those who is propelled; I have over a hundred pages of plot handwritten and I have typed 10,000 words of the intros. No super exciting stuff yet. Anyone can write the exciting stuff. Like I said, 20+ years of “Do this already.”

      • If you are searching thrillers with mutliple storylines and short chapters, I suggest you look at Dan Brown’s novels. Both ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Angels and Demons’ are fantastic examples of this. Reading the latter right now.

      • Write your story. Reading your post was like my own situation ive had this”book” inside me and in various notebook pages for 15 years.. It needs to come out as does yours..i like the advise on how many words are enough but again its your story just start writing you will know when the chapter is over …

    • I don’t believe thriller and historical fictions reader are divided by age and places they consume their literature. Next time you are on a train have a look around mate. You’ll see all sorts of books being read.

      At the end of the day, if every put there book down at the end of each chapter, I’d have no need of book marks.

      • As a reader, I ignore chapter breaks. Even when I promise myself that I’ll put the book down at the next chapter break, I keep reading and reading and reading. As a writer, I don’t know whether to take guidance from James Patterson — every scene break is a chapter break — or Terry Pratchett, who doesn’t use chapter breaks in most of his novels.

    • It’s definitely not. Like this piece emphasised its whatever floats your boat try and send it to your editor and see what they have to say about it then work from there.

  • Good clear boundaries. I agree with some of the other comments below that genre needs to be taken into account in how flexible those boundaries should be, but as a first timer to writing a full novel, it’s nice to see what generally ‘feels right’.
    I’m averaging at around 4 800 per chapter, but ranging between 3 000 and 6 000, so it will probably be worthwhile to see how economic I can be once I hit a deeper editing phase. Thanks for the post!

  • I am writing my first and last book about my life. This is great help for me. Thanks to Internet and to people that helps other without asking for money.

  • Thanks I did that right….the part about my events contributing to my plot….I’m not a natural…or am I? …LOl!
    Just joking…

  • Hi. I had a task to create a start of a few chapters for your own book. I have decided I want to post the book onto what pad. I have noticed it is not quite a novel since in each chapter I have about 500 words. I wanted to make the book a series. Do you think that my second book could be better and be apart of a series. Please reply. When I do get older, I really want to become an author.

    • Completely unrelated to the topic but in you first one if it feels short maybe try adding more into it (that’s if you want it to be longer) if its a thriller (or fast paced genre) then probably short is fine.

      Your second book could definitely be a part of a series, as could your first it just depends on the story line etc.

      Good luck! Hope that helps 😉

    • It could be apart of a series! It might not be a good idea if there are different characters (maybe if your adding characters of there just related to the OCs, that would work.)

      Good Luck!!!


    • There is no set age limit to be an author. If you want to write, then do it! I suggest applying to Camp NaNoWriMo in July. You can get lots of inspiration sharing a virtual cabin with other writers, and you get messages every day about how to further your writing. There is also a bigger event in November, the actual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where you can often find other writers in your area, in your genre, or who likes [insert other interest here] as much as you do. NaNoWriMo (it’s called national, but it’s open for people from around the world) helped me write half a novel at about 50k words last November, and helped me make a bunch of new friends who share my passion for writing.

  • great advice. interesting fact about harry potter. saves me counting the words now lol. I’m on book 2 of the three I’m writing.

    it is great that in this day and age we can search the answers quicker and this has been most useful to me. now I wonder where I can get some advice and guidance on publishing options. anyone know what J.K. Rowling’s original deal was per chance??

    • I know that she got a nope ten times before Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone finally got through to publishing. You can print your book on copy-paper and try to have local book stores sell them if you really want to. I believe that there’s no real limit to how you must present your book(s). Also, it might be a good idea to send in a test chapter to the publisher you want to publish with (or several ones, just to get things done perhaps a little quicker), so you can get a professional opinion on your work before getting too far ahead. If you have a pace that’s too tedious for target audiences to read, or there is some other issue that needs fixing, it’s much easier to fix that before writing 50+ chapters and an entire book to completion. Kudos to you for writing an entire book and beginning on volume 2 before contacting a publisher though.

    • For some, traditional publishing just doesn’t do the job. Nowadays, indie publishing is becoming more and more popular thanks to the internet. Be sure to read and find out what you can do to let audience know about your book, though.

  • Excellent guidance. I thank you for your clear answer to a question I have considered as a beginning writer.

    • What’s your target audience? 1200 words would be ok for a young audience, but adults and teens can take more. Personally I average 2,400-4,000 words, depending on how deep into “the zone” I am and how in depth my current scene is. Find what works for you, but keep in mind that certain audiences look for certain things, though you can always use artistic liscence. Just have fun with it, that’s most important: enjoy the write.

  • The problem is, if I do have a really short chapter, but don’t know what to do about it, what do you do? Nobody seems to know on the internet!

    • Something I’ve done is to walk away from it for a time, and go back to it later with a fresh mind. Try taking a little break: do something you find enjoyable, relax and recharge. Then try again. To help with ‘filler material’ perhaps add or increase background detail, note the setting (i.e: what kind of light is on scene, a detail of the room a character can’t stop focusing on, a moment where a character slips out of full attention and has a reverie, daydream, random thought whatever and then come back to the conversation with the realization they were asked a question or something like that, ect…)

      I hope this helps.

  • As an avid reader, I don’t think a chapter should be based on how many words. I think it should be based on the scene being written about. Don’t combine 3 or 4 completely different scenes and end up with a chapter that’s 50 pages long. That is so annoying.

      • that’s ok. Personally I’ve started writing five different books and haven’t finished any. my current book altogether is 10934 words long and my chapters are all about 2000-2500 words long. In the first book i tried to write my chapters were about 500-1000 words long. As you write more and more your word count will probably go up for each chapter because you become a stronger writer and are able to go more in depth in each chapter. Hope this helped… 🙂

      • Chapter length doesn’t matter as much as the actual novel length and, you know, a good story does. I’m sure that an editor can help you rearrange your chapters so that they’re better if you’re really worried about it. Check out the great editors at

  • In all honesty, I have just started writing and severely need help and guidance. Anybody have any more pointers?

    • If I’ve written a chapter that seems short, say less than 2000, I read it for several days and make notes on the pages where ithibgs can be fleshed out a bit more to add to the story. I usually find that in short chapters I’ve done too much telling and not enough showing.

  • Personally I find that chapter length depends on the content of the chapter. A chapter that has a bit more action going on and is quick paced is going to be less of an issue to a reader that is more involved in a chapter with that pace. I’ve written 4500-5000 word chapters with a lot of action in it. The slower paced chapters I like to keep a bit more descriptive but shorter as to invoke better imagery in the readers mind to keep them glued. Readers are a lot less likely to finish reading a chapter or especially a book if they have to fight their way through it.

    I’m working on a series and have most of one book written that’s about 100,000 words now. It contains 29 chapters now and will probably contain 30 or 31 depending on how the last two go. About 3,444 words per chapter or so.

  • Today, I wrote a chapter that is a little over 1,500 words. It is a single scene that introduces two of the stories main characters. After this particular scene, I’m going to be following each character through their day, and I’m not sure if I should do each as a new chapter or make each of them a section of one chapter. Any input would be excellent.

    • If you’re a beginner, this is pretty common. It can be quite easy to have a good bit of story, fitting perfectly to a chapter, but have “too few” words. Often this is because some inner dialogue or external description is missing. If you read over it, or have someone else beta-read your story, and it feels a little flat, you have ample space to flesh out your story with thoughts, feelings, descriptions. All of these things that makes a story come to life, rather than just being a recount of events. I hope it helps!

    • Yeah I don’t see why not! I have just graduated so with my spare time I am picking up on writing a story that I wrote about 3 years ago. I hope to get it published once I finish it! (Plan too anyways!)

    • This is my second book ( I am still trying to publish the first) but I only have around 1200 words in each of my chapters

      • Traditional publishing isn’t for everyone. Some great books have been published by indie authors. However, if you decide to go that way, be sure to do some serious research to ensure that your audience actually finds out about your book.

  • I appreciate this article in confirming that there are NO rules 🙂 my book is a saga and takes place over a long period of time, so my chapters are periods of time, like a month, or a day then it moved to another month several months later or maybe the next year, so whatever number of words it takes to tell that particular par of the story in that time period, it is. I’m not going to worry about it during my first draft phase. Maybe down the road, some of the the shorter chapters will be filled out with more content, but right now they seem to be in the 1,200-2,000 word length and I’m ok with that. In the end, I am the author and I get to decide how the story progresses.

  • My feeling is that there is no such thing as too short a chapter if it accomplishes what is intended. Even 500 to 600 words may be ample. Very long chapters (over 5000 to 6000 words) can be a big problem unless divided into distinct scenes (three is customary but there is no rule: there should be a good reason different scenes are included in the same chapter rather than creating a new chapter) or action filled and even then probably could be cut to a more reader friendly length or placed into separate chapters in some logical and artistic fashion. The reader is likely to lose interest or feel bogged down if a chapter is too long. It is generally good advice to write a chapter until it has accomplished your intent, then review it and edit until it hurts. Do not become too attached to passages even though you struggled with them and now consider them beautiful. If they don’t propel your story, slash…slash…slash. Because of the natural attachment writers get to their own words it is often better to go back to a chapter days or even weeks after it was written to consider edits in a more objective fashion

  • Just finish the second chapter that I may make the first… Its at around 8k.

    Being a science fiction book, setting up lore can cost words, I guess? Been nice to hear what other Sci-Fi would-be writers have found?

    The first chapter, that maybe the 2nd is around 4K. So I’m hoping the other will fit around that. I’m guessing once all the main characters that regularly get their own chapter-stage to dance around on are introduced, the word count may drop off some…

    Who know. But I guess it worse at the article says to ‘fill’ or ‘rush’ the story. If some chapters need a bookmark between start to finish, so be it.

    • Hi Benjamin, I’ll take a moment to answer my finding. Take it as you want. I have found that it also largely depends on your medium, how you get your story out there. I post my stories to a private website. Thus my chapters are more like installments. They can be anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 words each! While it may seem gruesome to read all that in one sitting, I learned early on that traditional chapter length just didn’t cut it. Furthermore, the time in production to write and proof a chapter was too demanding in the face of everyday life. It was easier for myself and more fulfilling for what few readers I have to add larger ‘episodes’ each time. Especially if you go the route of internet publishing instead of the traditional, feel free to depart from the traditional rules.

      I hope this helps you.

  • I have about 1000 words in my chapter, and that seems like nothing compared to Harry Potter and Hunger Games…

  • I can’t figure out how i want to start my novel. I also can’t decide how to lay out and get approved how i want to send it to my editor. I am also having some writers block any suggestions on any of these?

    • I take an idea than find out as much as I can about it!
      Ideas change all the time space pirates turn in to alien invasions story’s!

  • If this thread still going can someone tell me how many words is reasonable for a chapter I’m writing my first fantasy novel and worried if I have too short or to long of a chapter right now my first chapter word count is at 1,436 and in counting

  • I have found that, instead of counting chapter length, I switch chapters everytime I switch the point of view. Of course, if a chapter has less than 1500 words, I’m likely to cut it out in the next draft

  • I am 42’000 words in to my first novel and I have 39 chapters, so on average it’s just over 1000 words per chapter, though some may be nearer 2’000. I personally find the trend these days, particularly in thrillers, is to use shorter chapters. A change of scene, a change of chapter seems to make sense to me.

  • I tend to be a very unconventional author when it comes to chapter length and word count for the entire novel. I generally write horror-fantasy, as a result much more description is required to properly tell the story. When it comes to chapter length and layout, my rule is uniform throughout all my works. However it is a major departure from what many would see ‘traditional’. My chapters tend to be anywhere from 8,000 to as much as 12,000 or so. My philosophy is that a chapter is utterly useless, unless it can provide two things. The chapter must provide a uniform standard of time (e.g. a day, a week, a month, e.t.c.) Most importantly it must represent a meaningful progression as the next ‘installment’ or ‘episode’ in the book as the ultimate goal. While it may seem grueling to read all that in one sitting, one must remember that the means in which a book is read has changed. Most novice authors are read on the internet these days. Thus a larger installment of your story is really necessary for your readers to be satisfied, based on demand and the time it takes to write and proof a quality chapter. I sometimes can’t find the time to crank out another quality episode for a month or so. This would be impossible if we still lived in the days of paper-back books, but not anymore baby! It is for these reasons I say the age-old rule of 3000 to 5000 words is UTTERLY not enough! Granted, don’t get crazy! If you’re writing a full novel of 125,000 words or more that consists of only three chapters, I’d call you a sadist. Even still, don’t be afraid to take on your own style in your creative writing. All the best authors of history have, in one form or another.

  • my college teacher wants us to write the first chapter of a thrilling novel however i cant get it long enough may you help me?

    • Jack start the story out where someone found a body laying face down on the bedroom floor. If you want my reply to the email

  • Another way of looking at chapter word count is by pacing and structure, which caters to the psychology of the reader. When Paul Hirsch edited Star Wars, he purposefully constructed scenes longer at the beginning of the movie, then progressively shortened them toward the end. This was to build tension and excitement. Books have the opposite problem to film. Because they take up so much more time to consume, a reader can get bored with long chapters until they become attached to the characters and/or the stakes. Shorter chapter lengths at the beginning could mitigate the reader wandering away from your book. Then, after the reader is hooked, they become tolerant of, and hopefully eager to consume, longer chapters.

  • Thank you so much for the information and guidelines. I am writing my first book and I needed some guidance and input. Greatly appreciate

    Thank you again,
    Simcha Fox

    • 200 words per page is the norm. Chapters can vary from 12 to 54 depending on chapter length (anywhere from 700 to 5000 words). A novel varies from at least 25,000 words (for kids) to 200,000 words (YA fantasy).

    • Okay, so I’m answering this as an avid reader and as an author who’s currently on their second book.
      Most books have 200 words per page. And chapter lengths can vary a lot. People here say that 1000 words is short, but various novels like Holes have an avg. of 700 word per chapter. I honestly don’t even notice when a chapter ends and another starts when I’m in the middle of a book.

  • My chapter 1 is 1945 words, including the chapter heading. This rounds up to about 4.1 pages. Some might think it is short, but as a first draft it will pan out more and sometimes short chapters are better since you don’t have to read so much.

  • Hello, I am writing a romance novel, I am currently working on Chapter four. Each chapter has been between 3000-4000 words, I am aiming on 65,000 words at the end.
    Please tell me if I should be doing something different.
    Thank you

  • For the story I’m writing, I generally have 1,000-2,000 words per chapter, and that works for me. But every story and every author is different, and will have a different word range

  • thank you i am writing a story to hope to publish it one day i am 12 years old and am thank full for the info.

  • The advice on this page is helpful, but don’t take it to heart if it points out something you’re doing “wrong”. As a general rule writing a book, you can’t really do anything “wrong”. As long as you make sure everything you write is intentional and serves some purpose in development, you’ll find that your story is malleable to the intention you wish to imply.

    When I write books, I try to contain the story to 12-14 chapters that each mark a specific event. I don’t go out of my way to mess with the length of the chapters, but they usually end up taking much over 5,000 words.

    I personally find it effective not to pay attention to chapter length and more so chapter distribution because it helps to pan out your plot better into memorable, decisive chunks. You can know, for example “Chapter 2 is where the team gets captured but escapes and meets the group of homeless people who let them stay the night and in Chapter 3, it’s revealed that they had a plan to capture them all along and are going to sell them back to whoever will pay the most but then the main character get amnesia…” Pardon my example as it was improvised very quickly, but you get the idea.

    Try to think of your chapters as subdivisions of events and ways to set memorable markers as to what happens in your chapters. There is absolutely no requirement.

    Another thing–don’t worry about padding. Don’t do it intentionally, but if you’re just describing things and trying to develop the plot (or purposely building suspense or realism) then you’re fine. I find that the length of the chapter doesn’t really matter. Some people prefer to have 12 chapters in a book; others about 24. Some people even like to have 50 chapters in a book. It all depends on what you’re going for, and there really is no right answer, just what the norm is.

    But then again, what is a norm? The most popular books in the world didn’t follow the norm, they tried to convey what they wanted to convey in the convention they found suitable and they became successful doing so.

    Even if you go for 10,000 or 20,000 words in a chapter, it’s just your preference. Writing advice is always good to be sought out, but if you ever come across people who try to scare you out of doing certain things without a whole lot of explanation, example, and you feel like it doesn’t apply, take it with a grain of salt.

    No one’s writing is perfect, but the ideas are what lies at the core. Thus, there really is no right answer. Find what works best for you and use that while not letting other people discourage you.

  • I’m writing a pretty short YA fantasy novel at the moment and the chapters have an average of 1000 words. It might seem kind of short bizut it works with the story, at least in my opinion.

    • As a reader, I must say that I dislike fantasy novels that aren’t long enough, seeing that I bought a book and it was over before I opened it. Your chapter length is fine, but decent YA fantasy is at least 90,000 words, really.

  • I read somewhere that if you haven’t been published before a 148,000 word count in a novel would be too much. Any thoughts??? It’s edgy/mystery/crime

  • This is my first time writing a novel that I feel like publishing, but I’ve done some writing in the past. What works for me is to not aim for a certain amount of words in a book, say, 80,000. That way the story can unfold itself with ought you stressing over things like; will I be able to fit my story into 80,000 words? What if I need to use more words? What if I need to use less? For the chapter length, it’s completely up to you. Short and sweet chapters are ideal for a fairy-tale like novel, one that you read before going to bed. Longer chapters tend to work better for action stories, for example, Harry Potter. I hope this helped, but please don’t judge too harshly, I’m only 11! haha

  • 2000-5000 words per chapter? Oh my… I’ve just started writing my book and the first chapter has 24,707 words and I’m planning at least 20 chapters… Send help.

  • Thank you for explaining things in straightforward and uncomplicated terms. Also, thank you for the easy-to-grasp examples.

  • So your argument for chapter length is based off of a book designed to hold a child’s attention span… I do have to say, as an educator and someone that puts a lot of weight into being able to explicitly filling out your own voice into stories, I can tell you that I would tell every one of my students to ignore this type of advice.

  • I’m new at this, but my first try is 2200 words a chapter.
    I guess it all depends on what’s going on, etc… and what is needed before going to the next chapter. I’m writing my first novel.

  • Is this average word count also the same for manga or do you think it could be shorter per chapter? What’s the average word clunt to manga chapter ratio? About 2,000 words maybe?

  • I am a complete and utter novice writer then add dyslexia to the mix, my average chapter length is about 6000 words for a zombie book so far 13 chapters. I know it is content that is important more than size. Do I need to down size for a first book?

  • ive begone to write a stroy and im writing it purley for fun due to the fact im 15 , my first 2 chapters are 3000 + words each and others ranging from 2000 and 1546 words i have 10 chapters currently and hope to make it longer for more thrills to come. i started them all this year and would love anything or plot for a new story

  • Hi, I have a suggestion, on your website word counter, it shows how long it may take to read and speak, maybe you should add how long it may take to write or type! just an idea! thanks for a wonderful site.

  • Now, I personally think that 2,750 – 4,000 is enough..don’t get me wrong, tho. I just read this trying to get an clarification.

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