General · How to... · Writing

Top 5 Tips for Chapter Breaks

Hey Guys,

So we are back with a short advice post about breaking your work in to chapters, something that when you first think about it seems daunting. However, here are my top 5 tips for choosing when to end a chapter.

You need to change perspective…

There are very few people who get away with mid-chapter perspective changes and these are generally well after they have established their characters voices so being able to immediately distinguish between one and another is possible.

There is a passage of time…

Okay, so if it is a few hours and the story is told over months (or even years), then really you should be able to tell this within the body of  chapter. However, if there is a decent about of time moving, or if the story is only told over a few hours, then I highly recommend a chapter break. This lets the timeline stay in order without time getting blurred in to one moment.

Creating tension…

Formatting should not be the only source of tension within the writing, however, it can be used to your advantage. Stopping at the end of a battle where you don’t know whether your favourite character has survived or not, ending a chapter there will make sure that the reader carries on.

However, be warned; over-use of this can ruin this effect. So choose carefully when you deploy this!

Pace… Pace… Pace…

Pacing can be something a lot of people struggle with, however introducing chapter breaks can really help slow the story down when you feel like it’s starting to race ahead. However, it can also be used to speed up the pace, stopping a scene short and starting a new one can really pushing the story forward.

Move it on…

When you feel like the plot point is done, end that chapter. I have seen it a million times, a plot point is expanded and expanded until you cant remember the focus of it. After the big battle is done, you don’t need 10 more pages of clean up. Use that end of chapter to stop you from waffling and helps move on the story.

I hope you find these top five tips helpful, if you do let me know in the comments below!

Helen

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