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  1. #11
    Ashling White

    Re: how do you name your chapters?

    Judging by the books (1,000 or so) on my shelves, titling chapters was fairly common back in the day, but not so much nowadays. Stephen King and some mystery novelists still title their chapters. The chapters in literary novels are often just numbered, unless several characters share equal billing. Such novels might be divided into sections & I usually notice those titles, but my eyes skim past chapter titles without absorbing them.

    I sometimes discover the chapter titles on a second or third read of a beloved novel, which often reveals a deeper level of the plot or characters, so I really wish the author had presented that info within the body of the chapter.

    I just number my chapters.


  2. #12
    Wayne G

    Re: how do you name your chapters?

    I include chapter titles for children's or middle-grade fiction, but not for adult. When reading I don't really pay much attention to them, and I especially gloss over those pretentious, famous quotes that some authors like to include below the chapter title.

  3. #13

    Re: how do you name your chapters?

    I think naming chapters is hokey. I wouldn't do it.

  4. #14
    Joe Zeff

    Re: how do you name your chapters?

    Back in Victorian times, chapter titles were often very long and of the form, "In which so-and-so does such-and-such and finds out $FOO, $BAR and $BAZ." Last year at NaNoWrimo, one writer was planning to use that style to up her word count on the cheap. Don't know how it turned out.

  5. #15
    Anthony Ravenscroft

    Re: how do you name your chapters?

    Joe, it tended to go on for quite a bit more than that. I recall one book where each major plot point was mentioned, & these snippets were delimited by semicolons.

    Nowadays, this is more likely to show up in nonfiction, especially among those who aren't entirely certain what they're doing. This is even bigger in the ToC. You can have a chapter, then a description of the chapter, subtended by each major heading (with a brief description of the reason &/or content), subtended by each minor heading. I saw a recent 300-page book with a 12-page ToC.

    Using gimmicks like this to pad wordcount... nah. And dumb, too: wordcount often disregards headers & footers, for instance. Why not just toss in an OCD Christian who repeats the Lord's Prayer thousands of times? Then the "author" can copy once & pastepastepaste her/his way to Fake Literary Excellence.

  6. #16
    Prince Louis Richard de la Pau

    Re: how do you name your chapters?

    Crikey, I can't imagine anyone trying to artifically UP their word count. I've been going mad trying to reduce mine!

    As for chapters, mine are numbered, but there's a Prelude: Largo maestoso, Chapters 1-9: tempo di valse, a Cadenza: Allegro ma non troppo, and a Coda: Largo Maestoso, because the entire book is set up as a piece of music, almost like a literary ballet.

    Actually naming chapters has always seemed odd to me. More suitable for kiddies' fiction than anything else, imo.

    Louis Richard

  7. #17
    Ed Leahy

    Re: how do you name your chapters?

    Yes, the idea of intentionally increasing word count also struck me as odd.

    I'm not long-winded. I'm tersely challenged.

  8. #18
    Joe Zeff

    Re: how do you name your chapters?

    The padding was just for the NaNoWriMo counting software, to reach 50,000 words easier. As to putting in several hundred copies of The Lord's Prayer, the only person you'd be fooling would be yourself.

    BTW, in my current book, one chapter deals with the declaration of war, the next with the response. The titles are:



    Alas, I couln't find an excuse to title the next:


    STR for a know prize.

  9. #19
    Denis Bonner

    Re: how do you name your chapters?

    Rejoining the discussion I ought to add that one of my manuscripts has only four chapters. The "prologue", the intro to the narrator, the story (told by the narrator - almost the entire book) - the conclusion,

    So I have a different idea about how to structure a book.

  10. #20
    Mya Bell

    Re: how do you name your chapters?

    Billy, George, Joe, Patrick ...

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