Pet Peeve: Really long chapters in books.

I don’t always have the time to sit down for an hour or two and read. Sometimes I just want to read a book for 15 minutes. And at the end of those 15 minutes I would like to be at a good stopping point. This means that I would either like to finish a chapter or finish a section (some authors use ellipses, symbols, or blank space to mark different sections).

So when a book has really long chapters with hardly any sections, I can become frustrated. If the book is really good, I don’t mind so much, but most books are only average.

By having me stop in the middle of a chapter, part of the story is lost to me. I’m more likely to forget what happened when I start back up. I think it hinders my enjoyment of the story. Sometimes I have to reread a paragraph or two because I’ve forgotten where I left off.

I think the perfect chapter length is between 7 and 13 pages, depending on the page size and text size. Just enough pages to continue the plot and delve deeper into the story but not enough to exhaust the reader.

Am I the only one that really dislikes long chapters?

6 thoughts on “Pet Peeve: Really long chapters in books.

  1. I have the same exact gripe. I’m also much faster when reading books with short chapters because I’ll say, “oh just one more, oh just one more” and before I know it, it’s midnight and I’ve finished the book.

  2. It’s an interesting dilemma for the author. I’ve written two non-fiction books and my longest chapter is maybe 6,000 words. As much as I see your point, the challenge is that a book is designed to woo you into it and the story may not end tidily where you feel it should. It’s up to the reader to hang in there and keep coming back for more.

    With all due respect, there has been much written of late about how our very distracted online lives are shortening our attention spans…

    1. I think you’re right when you say the internet has shortened our attention span. That’s definitely part of the problem I think for me.

  3. I love a good long chapter, J.K. Rowling created super long chapters in some of the Harry Potter books and That was part of the magic of reading those books for me, I’d tell myself, “Okay at the end of this chapter I’ll go to bed…” and 15 – 30 pages later I’d finish the chapter and say “Just one more” and it’s how I found myself reading those books in a matter of hours, rather than weeks.

    Short chapters are good, but they just don’t…keep me reading like long ones, there is something special about sitting down to a book that I can’t put down for a long time. I love that feeling!

    1. See I’m the opposite, I’ll read more if the chapters are short. Everyone’s different, that’s most likely why authors still churn out those long chapters, because they know some people don’t mind it at all.What do you bet if I ever wrote a book I’d be the one with long chapters? I’d go against myself! Haha.

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