The End is the Beginning


I usually write about a chapter a day.  It’s just how I work.  Today I got to thinking though, what constitutes as the end of a chapter?  How do you really know when it’s time to end one chapter and begin a new one?

A few books I have read, chapters end when the day ends.  Others end a chapter at the end of a huge fight, or even in the middle of a fight.  Those are really the worst, the ones that end in the middle of something, but it’s a good way to keep a reader reading, even if they have to be at work early in the morning and can’t stay up to read anymore.

For me, it seems that I will end a chapter when there is an end to the current scene, but leave a little information that keeps a reader interested enough to rush on to the next chapter.

Do you remember school, having to write paragraphs?  I remember teachers trying to show me when to end a paragraph and start a new one.  I’m not going to lie, I still have trouble with that sometimes.  You just get on a roll writing and the next thing you know, you have this massive paragraph that will probably be broken down into a few paragraphs.

I don’t think there is a word count, or page count that is ideal for a chapter.  I have read some books where chapters were two or three pages long.  I have even seen a few books that had chapters throughout the book that were only a page long.  It comes to question, why do we even worry about things like this?

I feel like writers get so caught up in “rules of writing” that we lose our own personal style.  We get so worried about how long a paragraph should be (3-5 sentences according to school), how long a chapter should be, how long a book should be.  We get caught up in word count and page count and not only lose our personal style, but we also lose our creativity and our story becomes a mess.

So what did I take out of all of this?  Not to worry about if my chapter has ended in a proper place.  Just write and get the story down, then go back and worry about where things should end and begin.

Before I was a writer I was a reader.  As a reader I know what I like.  I know how I like to see a chapter end.  I love a cliff hanger at the end of a chapter and at the end of some books.  I like short chapters, so I can read one chapter at a time and not get caught in the middle of a chapter when I get too sleepy to continue reading.

Maybe as writers we have forgotten what it is to be a reader.  I read just as much as I write.  A lot of authors suggest that, mainly Stephen King and he is my idol.  My suggestion to my fellow writers is to remember what it is to be a reader.  If you are writing something you don’t like, why would you share it with the readers of the world.

Do you have any tricks to ending a chapter?

NaNoWriMo Update: 18,241 Words

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