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How Long Should a Chapter Be In a Book?

When you decide to write a book, you need to structure your thoughts and divide your story into chapters. The length of your chapters needs to be set in a way that the readers do not lose interest. Structure your chapters and consider how each chapter contributes to the story. It is also important for setting the pace of your story and building the right amount of suspense to keep your readers' interest throughout the story. 

You need to align the story of your book so that the end of your chapters is fascinating and not disruptive to the flow. If you are still wondering how long should a chapter be in a book? Then, look at famous books and see how their authors have structured their chapters. Best-selling books can help you understand the interests of the audience and the trends in specific genres. Chapter lengths of some best-selling books are given below:

  • Harry Potter has almost four 4000 words per chapter
  • Ready Player One has almost 3500 words per chapter
  • Game of Thrones has almost 4000 words per chapter
  • The Fault in Our Stars has almost 2600 words per chapter

These books are all bestsellers. You should read these books and understand how the authors have aligned the story. It will also explain how you can keep within limits while still creating engaging content for the readers. Your goal should be to leave the reader with a positive impression and not feelings of confusion. End the chapters when you end your scene to create an easy-to-follow flow. 

How Many Chapters Should I Need in a Book?

There is no correct answer to this question. It all depends on how well you can make your writing compelling and readable for the audience.

Before you even consider breaking down your book into chapters, understand what your story is about. How can you divide it into chapters, and how can those chapters help you set your book's pacing.

When you start writing a book, you need to keep the importance of its structure in mind as well. So, expand on the ideas in your book, including the essential elements and themes that are to be expressed.

You need to pay attention to the number of chapters and their length because they are essential for the structure of a story. They can help you convey your story in a captivating way. Prepare your first draft the way you like it.

Then, start working on sectioning and organizing your story. Short stories tend to have fewer chapters than lengthier stories. However, chapters are essential to maintain the flow of your book—the length of your chapter matters.

You want the readers to experience your story and reach every word you've written. If you create long chapters, the readers may lose interest halfway through. On the other hand, if your book does not tell a story like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, consider cutting down the number of words in your chapter. There is a lot of variation when it comes to the number of chapters in popular novels. A few examples are as follows:

  • Great Gatsby has nine chapters
  • The Call of the Wild has seven chapters
  • Game of Thrones has seventy-three chapters

What the average word count of a chapter should be is always up for debate. The general rule of thumb is to consider giving the readers a break and avoid adding unnecessary details. It is your story, and how you make it compelling matters the most.  Therefore, there is no standard guideline regarding the number of chapters in a book.

Does Chapter Size or Word Count Really Matter?

If you are still wondering about the average word count for a chapter, then this blog will answer the question for you. The chapter size and word count do matter. You cannot fluff your book with words and make it boring for the readers. It would be best if you elaborate your story as needed but also keep your readers in mind.

Don't give extra unnecessary details, but at the same time, don't simply leave the reader hanging without explaining what happened. If your chapter goes on and on, the readers will not find it amusing. Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, keeping an optimal chapter length is important. Even if you are writing a cookbook, you need to add chapters to divide your book. You can make different sections, one for desserts, one for starters, etc.

 The decision regarding where to end chapters is entirely yours. But you have to be a smart storyteller if you want the audience to like your books. The idea is to ensure the pacing is crips and the reader gets breaks at the right moments. 

If you end the chapter by giving the readers a reason to read more, they will continue reading even after breaks. The break allows the readers to take a deep breath and process the story they have read.

Therefore, checking the word count of your book and the chapter length and numbers is a crucial step. As a writer, you cannot skip it; otherwise, your efforts will be in vain. Instead, you need to balance your need to express everything and keep a captivating pace.

Books with a short chapter like The Great Gatsby, Mrs. Dalloway, The Outsiders, etc., are bestsellers as our books like The Lord Of the Rings are wordy. However, the storylines are compelling, and the authors have crafted great narratives. In addition, short chapters allow for faster pacing and let readers finish the books in single sittings. The trends change with time, and currently, the average chapter length of bestsellers is approximately 2000 words.

Chapters give structure to a book, and they can also allow the readers to follow your story in a way that keeps it interesting. Additionally, it is important to provide the readers with convenient pit stops on their journey with you. 

Ther is an art to structuring a book properly.  Abruptly ending the book is not a good idea, and it can negatively impact your image. Therefore, the size of the chapter does matter when it comes to penning a book. Don't confuse yourself by constantly thinking about how long should a chapter be in a book? Just focus on making your story captivating, interesting and readable.

What Are Chapter Breaks?

Chapter breaks help an author determine where to end the scene and begin another. It allows the readers to digest the story without getting bored. Chapter breaks hint towards ending a scene or an idea presented in the book.

One chapter should contain a singular cohesive idea or argument to ensure a good readability score. When the writer wants the readers to enjoy reading, they insert chapter breaks. Make your introduction interesting but do not bore your readers with unnecessary details. 

Chapter breaks are done purposely to shift the location, change the point of view, or end a particular scene.

When considering chapter breaks, the following things need to be considered by the writer:

1.  Audience

You have to keep your audience in mind when you determine the chapter length. In addition, you have to put yourself in the readers' place when deciding on how to end the chapter. For example, the way chapters end is very different in a science fiction book for adults compared to a simple storybook for young children.

You need to add more chapters in your book and limit your word count. For example, if you plan to write for young adults, you can create a chapter of two thousand words.

2.  Genre

Chapter breaks also depend on the genre you are writing for. In mysteries, the writers need to juggle back and forth to create suspense. Therefore, they pen shorter chapters to keep the readers captivated by the mystery. If you are writing historical fiction, your story can move at a slower pace so you can have longer chapters. 

In romance novels, the chapters are generally between 1500-2000 words. It allows for the author to set the pacing in a way that keeps the readers hooked.  For example, a popular romance novel, "The Fault In Our Stars", has almost 2000 words per chapter. 

3.  Main Idea

When you ask yourself the question, how long should a chapter be in a book? It is best if you see your story from the reader's perspective. You want to keep the readers engaged so that they read each consecutive chapter.

End the chapter in a way that creates anticipation for what's to come. The authors of famous books such as Tarzan and Green Hornet use this strategy to keep the readers entertained and reading. To get inspiration for creating hooks and cliffhangers at the end of chapters, read classics and bestsellers. Don't disappoint your readers by creating unnecessary hype. An author should know when he has to tell all and when to create suspense by withholding details.

4.  Outline the Draft

Once you finished writing the concept, you need to outline your draft. It will help you in creating great chapter breaks.  Furthermore, It can help you choose the scenes with a good ending that would make for good breaks. Finally, it can help structure your book properly and help determine the way chapters progress and end.  

Now, before you Google, "How long should a chapter be in a book?" Remember these guidelines and outline your story to give structure and a pacing that is captivating and entertaining.


We hope that you now understand why we need chapter breaks in the book. And how long should a chapter be in a book?  Creating chapters for your book can be an interesting task. But as the author, you need to take up the challenge and do the necessary work. Longer chapters and unnecessary details can make the reader lose interest. 

You should read your writing from the reader's perspective and edit your book accordingly. And remember, there are no rules, just guidelines for the length of a chapter and the number of chapters in a book.

However, these tips can help you better understand how to divide your book into chapters and how best to determine the length of each chapter.

And lastly, the structure is important, but no arbitrary ideal number of chapters or length can save a poorly written story. So, don't forget to keep the story compelling and entertaining while pursuing the right structure for your story.

Pro Book Writing can assist you with writing a best-seller, editing it, or help you find a reliable publisher to promote your work. Our team of book writing experts has already helped several authors break into the spotlight.

We provide a broad range of services including ghostwriting, editing, scriptwriting, book trailers, book design, book marketing, and a lot more.

For information about our services, feel free to get in touch with us or get a quick quote here. We will love to assist you with your book!

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