After working on nearly a dozen picture books over the last year I want to go back into a longer story. I dusted off one I had a good start to (I’ve talked about before) and dove in. While I know first drafts are not worth sharing I couldn’t help myself and let a few read it. I was a little over-excited to be writing again.
One thing I was asked about was my chapter lengths and how they seemed too short for a fantasy book and why my chapters end so “neatly.” This fascinates me.
First, writing efficiently is a skill in my mind. A skill I’ve developed thanks to you reading these blog posts. It’s been nearly four years writing on Quest Type and compared to my first posts I’ve learned to be concise, clear, and on point. You have helped me bolster this ability, thank you.
Second point with length happens for me as a reader. Reading into the wee hours of the night, far past my bedtime, I look at the length of the next chapter before committing to read it. The shorter the chapter the more often I think, just one more. Do you do this too?
Third, my story jumps point of view (POV) with each scene in an alternating pattern. It needs to do this for the story to progress at a good pace. So instead of switching POV mid chapter I’ve chosen to start a new one. This also allows me to write quickly and efficiently filling in my plot points as I go.
This scene by scene method works for me as a writer, as a reader, and as an editor.
Finally, regarding my “neat” ending. Cliffhangers, I find, are more annoying than useful. It’s a writing devise used to trick the reader and is often nonsensical in placement. I’ll instead revise to give, not a cliffhanger, but to “end chapters with revelations, discoveries, and decisions,” Writers Digest Nov/Dec 2018 Old Hat, New Suit by James.
All writing processes are different and don’t let “classic advise” misguide your reasons for how and why you write.
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