Where should I end my chapter?

Learning to find the flow to your writing is an ongoing process that is unique to each author. I know I’m still learning with each book. When I first started writing, one of the things I stressed the most about was where to end my chapters.

You wouldn’t think that would be so hard, but let me tell you, it was for me. I wanted, and still want, to do it the “right” way. I don’t want my readers to feel like I’m making those chapters too long or too short. I want it just right.

So, my approach to this issue at first was to simply count pages. After seven typed pages, I would find a good pausing point and begin a new chapter. There you go. Problem solved.

I’m very proud to say I did not stick with that strategy. I read an article by a fellow writer that made me stop and reevaluate what I was doing. I wish I could have found the article to link to it, but since I read it so many years ago, it’s lost in the big world wide web somewhere. But, oh boy, it was an eye opener for me.


In the article, the author stated his goal was to hook his readers so well at the end of each chapter that they had to keep reading until they read his whole novel in one sitting.

Good goal, huh? 🙂

He went on to say that each break in the story was a place the reader might choose to stop, and if they stopped, that reader might not pick that book back up. For an avid reader like myself who finishes any book I start, I was shocked by that. What? The reader might not finish it? No way!

Well, yes way. This is a busy world we live in. The day job, the second job, kids, sports, homework, cooking, cleaning, washing, working in a small bit of a social life…and on and on and on. After all that, is that reader going to pick that book back up at ten o’clock the next night when their eyes are so tired their vision is blurry, or will that reader just turn on the TV and conk out in the recliner?

Even as a die-hard reader, I’ve chosen the TV over the book. That’s life, right?

So, yes, I chose to reevaluate where to end my chapters. I want the same thing with my readers. I want to write so amazingly well that they simply cannot put the book down! Bam! And, THAT’s what it is all about!


So, where should we end the chapter? My suggestion is simple. Don’t force the ending. Make the chapters match the flow of your story. Don’t worry so much about long or short. Just make sure you choose to end the chapter at a weighty moment.

It doesn’t have to be something as monumental as a death. Unless you are writing a slasher story, I’m sure you won’t have that many people, if any, dying in your book. But, you should choose an important or pivotal moment.

You could choose the ending right as the geek got asked to the prom. Emotional turmoil and intensity can be very important to the reader. Maybe end the chapter right as the hero declares his love for the first time. End the chapter with a mystery, a surprise, a crazy turn of events, or anything that could hook your reader.

As long as the ending matches the natural flow of your story, it should work. And, if we’re lucky, that reader will keep reading all the way to the end before life can get in the way.

Published in: on January 29, 2016 at 11:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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