50K Words: How Long Should a Chapter Be? #NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month (AKA NaNoWriMo) is upon us and with it the challenge to write a 50K novel in 30 days. If you a Panster and your only plan is to see where your story takes you this November, good luck. Know it can be done. I was a winner myself using this method in 2013.

This year though I'm going to try a slightly more organised approach to the challenge by doing some planning ahead of time. I'm going to work out a rough plot and even try to break it down into chapters so that I have a guideline story arc to help keep me on track during the challenge. I may even make a few notes for the main characters.

In order to hit the 50K word count goal you need to pump out 1,667 words a day, but how do you break down the 50K into chapters?

50K Words: How Long Should a Chapter Be? #NaNoWriMo #Writing

How Long Should a Chapter Be?

It really depends. The answer won't be the same for everyone as it depends on the type of story you're writing, pacing, and your own personal writing style. 

You'll also need to consider how many scenes are in each chapter. Again this depends. Some writers will have one scene in a chapter. Others will have several. You may actually find it easier to do a break down of scenes as opposed to chapters, and then divide the manuscript into chapters when it's finished. 

To answer the question though for those of you looking for a rough guide, the average for a 50K novel would be around 20 chapters. Let me just repeat this though so it's clear to everyone. This is just to give you a rough figure to work with if you're one of those looking for a ball park figure to help you plan. There are no set rules. Your content will dictate your chapter length, and the number of chapters your book needs.

Are you a Panster or a Plotter? How many chapters do you usually have on average in your books? Will you be doing NaNoWriMo this year? How much planning do you do in advice, if any?


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