Author Topic: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?  (Read 2145 times)

Doglover

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What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« on: November 12, 2018, 05:42:30 PM »
Is it necessary? Does it help intrigue the reader?
 
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VanessaC

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2018, 07:15:19 PM »
I don't do it at the moment - I have a hard enough time coming up with character names sometimes, let alone chapter headings! I do label my scenes and chapters in scrivener, but that's more so I can look down the list and know roughly where everything goes, so my scenes are called things like "final battle" or something.

To be honest, as a reader, chapter titles can be really distracting - I want to get on with the story.  However, a tag or description can be really useful - where you're switching time lines and / or locations and / or characters' points of view.

But I also think it depends on genre and expectations of the genre.

Just some random (un-caffeinated) thoughts.  Grin
     

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Robin

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2018, 07:24:02 PM »
I do it in some of my novels, not in others. It's not necessary of course, but I hope it intrigues my readers.

I've never had anyone say they hated my chapter titles, but then again I've never had anyone say they liked them either which makes me think readers don't actually care that much (I read a lot and it doesn't make much difference to me).

So I suppose what I'm trying to say is if you feel like entitling chapters do it, if not its not a problem.
 

Doglover

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Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2018, 07:24:58 PM »
I don't do it at the moment - I have a hard enough time coming up with character names sometimes, let alone chapter headings! I do label my scenes and chapters in scrivener, but that's more so I can look down the list and know roughly where everything goes, so my scenes are called things like "final battle" or something.

To be honest, as a reader, chapter titles can be really distracting - I want to get on with the story.  However, a tag or description can be really useful - where you're switching time lines and / or locations and / or characters' points of view.

But I also think it depends on genre and expectations of the genre.

Just some random (un-caffeinated) thoughts.  Grin











That's what I'm thinking, it depends on genre. I usually write historical and I name the chapters, but this new one is a psychological type thriller and I just can't see titles. I looked at some popular thrillers and they seem to be named, but still not sure.
 

Doglover

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Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2018, 07:26:50 PM »
As a reader, I've never really noticed to be honest. If I think about all the books on my shelf, without looking I haven't got a clue whether they have titled chapters or not, which just about says it all really.  :Healing:
 

LSMay

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2018, 07:30:59 PM »
As a reader, I don't even read chapter titles most of the time.

As a writer, I used to do them, and I no longer do. They were helpful for my own navigation of the manuscript, but I don't think they added much (if anything) to the reader experience. For certain chapters they were somewhat difficult to come up with, and not having them saves wasting that time thinking about it.

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Jeff Tanyard

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2018, 07:46:44 PM »
I name my chapters, but only because I hate looking at a table of contents and just seeing a list of numbers.  If most readers care very much one way or the other, then I have yet to hear about it.

As a reader, I always liked the chapter titles in The Lord of the Rings.
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Doglover

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Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2018, 07:49:03 PM »
I name my chapters, but only because I hate looking at a table of contents and just seeing a list of numbers.  If most readers care very much one way or the other, then I have yet to hear about it.

As a reader, I always liked the chapter titles in The Lord of the Rings.
Well, to be honest, if I don't title the chapters, I don't bother with a table of contents. I see no point to that.
 

PaulineMRoss

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2018, 11:35:33 PM »
I've always put chapter titles. Originally they were just an aide memoire so they were brief: At Someplace, or Moving On, or An Unexpected Meeting. It made it easier for me to find where something specific happened when I was revising. Then I just kept them in the final version, because why not?

I'm sure most readers don't notice them, but sometimes they're effective. I was reading a fantasy book once, just about to put it down for the night, and then I discovered that the next chapter was called 'An Encounter with a Dragon'. Well, could anyone stop at that point? I couldn't!

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Denise

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2018, 11:41:32 PM »
I think chapter titles can be fun, and they also help me navigate through the manuscript because the titles help me know where each part is, like Pauline.

Like Jeff, Tolkien's fun titles are an inspiration. The only Tolkien inspiration... :hehe

As a reader, I actually like to look at a table of contents and see the titles, and get a sense of the story, so it's a personal preference.
 

LilyBLily

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2018, 11:52:25 PM »
I found Mary Stewart's epigraphs starting each chapter fascinating. That was how I first heard of The Revenger's Tragedy, and a decade later I took an entire college course in revenge tragedy because of that epigraph.

Georgette Heyer had chapter titles in some of her earlier, frothier novels. The titles were fun.

I think titles work mostly today as guideposts: It's this month, it's this place, it's day or night, etc. I've done that in some of my books, especially the ones that do not feature a lot of linear storytelling and unity of place.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2018, 12:34:12 AM »
I've always used titles, though I agree it isn't necessary. In ebooks, the TOC is visible in the Look Inside, which means some readers may see it pre-purchase. I try to make the titles like brief teasers to give the reader an idea of what to expect in the parts of the book that aren't in the Look Inside.


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Llano

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2018, 12:37:29 AM »
I have a series of four novels with chapter titles. Most of the time the chapter titles were no-brainers, but sometimes, like the titles of novels themselves, nothing seemed to work. I'd put in a place-holder title and move on. Eventually, they all worked out, including going back and changing the chapter 1 title of book 1 to the same as the last chapter title of book four. The entire series was all about music, so some of the chapter titles were titles of songs or operas.

Chapter titles were immensely helpful in Word's navigation pane. So much so that I decided to use them again for my next novel. That was a mistake. The chapter titles just didn't work as well. I finally gave up but discovered that using an on-the-nose chapter title (Bobby and Amy make out in the car) as a placeholder allowed the navigation pane to be even more useful than before. I leave the placeholders in until the last possible minute and then miss them terribly if I decide to make another pass.
 

formerly Sapphire

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2018, 01:09:53 AM »
Chapters aren't entitled to anything. grint They should have to go out there and do their job to make a whole book without any writer subsidies.:tap
Just kidding, of course. I like chapter titles. Now, more seriously, here's my personal opinion on the subject. To me, they not only give structure for me, they give structure for the reader.
 

Maggie Ann

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2018, 02:07:47 AM »
As a reader, I don't bother to read them, except, of course Harry Potter. What I really pass by is the quotations at the beginning of each chapter. In one case, though, I realized years later I should have read them because they were a big clue to the background of the story.

As an author, I don't even bother to chapterize until the book is finished and edited. Then I search on the scene breaks until I find one that's a good place to put a chapter break. Saves a lot of work and a lot of redoing because editing can change so much.
           
 
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Eclectic Dan

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2018, 02:08:39 AM »
My first two published novels didn't have chapter titles, but my third did.  I don't remember when I started using them because things don't necessarily get published in the order I started writing them.  For example, my current WIP uses them, but I had started it before I wrote and published Bad Fiction which also uses chapter titles.

I use them on most of my stuff now.  I can't say whether I will always use chapter titles from now on, but I prefer using them over not using them.  As Jeff Tanyard mentioned, it makes them look more interesting than a list of chapter numbers.

Plus I always put my Table of Contents in the front of the eBook, because that's where it would be in a printed book, so it ends up showing up on the "Look Inside!"  I think it can perhaps help make the reader more curious about the book if the chapter titles arouse curiosity (without revealing spoilers).  So, in that regard, it's an extra tool to encourage people to buy.
     
 
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Vijaya

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2018, 02:41:19 AM »
For the kindle version I have titles but not for the paperback. The biggest reason is to make navigation easier if you lose your place.

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alyson

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2018, 02:43:18 AM »
As a reader, I love chapter titles.

They just help, since I dive in and out of so many books.

That said, chapter titles or not have never influenced a buy or KU decision.



 
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Rosie Scott

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2018, 08:57:20 AM »
I don't remember ever reading a book with chapter titles. It's possible I have, and it just slipped my memory.

Anyway, I doubt I'd care either way as a reader, and I only use numbered chapters as an author. The only way chapter titles could get me to pass up a book is if it didn't have numbers as well as the titles. I have to have a sense of progression as a reader, and I remember chapter numbers. I would not remember titles. I have seen books that don't have numbered chapters/parts, and I can't imagine trying to read them. This could be a personal preference, or it could stem from my OCD (I have obsessions with numbering things and keeping track of quantitative stats even with everyday things), so I could be an outlier here.

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Eclectic Dan

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2018, 10:00:17 AM »
The only way chapter titles could get me to pass up a book is if it didn't have numbers as well as the titles. I have to have a sense of progression as a reader, and I remember chapter numbers.

 :goodpost:

We don't have a "good point" emoji so that will have to do.  Good point, though.

I used numbers and titles.  I just have to remember to change both with each new chapter.   grint


This could be a personal preference, or it could stem from my OCD (I have obsessions with numbering things and keeping track of quantitative stats even with everyday things), so I could be an outlier here.

I keep track of things most people don't.  I simply hope that such things will be kept after I'm gone because I think somewhere down the line some historians may find it useful.
     
 

Denise

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2018, 10:56:53 AM »
The only way chapter titles could get me to pass up a book is if it didn't have numbers as well as the titles. I have to have a sense of progression as a reader, and I remember chapter numbers. I would not remember titles. I

Well, A Song of Ice and Fire doesn't have numbers...

I swear when I started reading it, I got so confused. I thought they were standard chapter titles, and it made sense that they would have characters'  names when they were introduced. But then, those chapter names kept repeating. I was like, "Wait, didn't I just read a chapter called Eddard? Why is this chapter again called Sansa?"   :icon_think: I think only after reading at least 2 or 3 chapters with each character that I understood that they were just pov markers.  :Hqn66ku:

But really, they could have numbers! Anyways, I hate the way GRRM uses pov characters to "name"  the chapters, and that there are no numbers, but that didn't stop me from reading...
 

Jeff Tanyard

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2018, 11:10:04 AM »
As an author, I don't even bother to chapterize until the book is finished and edited. Then I search on the scene breaks until I find one that's a good place to put a chapter break. Saves a lot of work and a lot of redoing because editing can change so much.


Same here.
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CoraBuhlert

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2018, 04:09:29 PM »
Chapter titles seem to have fallen out of favour in recent times, but I still use them, because I've always liked them. Though I use both numbers and chapter titles together.

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Doglover

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Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2018, 04:32:05 PM »
Chapter titles seem to have fallen out of favour in recent times, but I still use them, because I've always liked them. Though I use both numbers and chapter titles together.
So do I. It's just that with historicals I always find it easy to come up with chapter titles, but not for this new one. We shall see; it's interesting to get everyone's perspective on it, though.
 

Simon Haynes

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2018, 07:04:05 PM »
I use them in my kids books and my 'adult' books. I like dreaming up awful puns.

On the other hand, with my regular novels I just stick with plain old 'Chapter 1', etc.


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Michelle Louring

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Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2018, 07:29:33 PM »
I used to do chapter titles... until I realized that since I write such short chapters, it was hell to come up with a new title for each of them  :dizzy
Point is, while I like chapter titles, I don't think they're necessary and I'm just not creative enough to do them myself.
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sliderule

Re: What does everyone think about entitling chapters?
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2018, 02:20:48 AM »
I use chapter titles as a way to fast plot or start plotting a book. I'll make the determination on whether to keep them once I'm ready to publish the book.

As a reader, I like them, but not having them doesn't