Do You Name Your Chapters?

Timebender

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I prefer just names. It sometimes makes it easier for readers to remember what happened when, and also gives a sense of significance to various segments of the story. Plus it's more fun than just numbers. So I'd rather use "The Great Escape". "Chapter 1 - The Great Escape" just sounds unnecessarily complex to me, and it lessens the impact of the chapter title by adding extra words.

But of course, it will all depend on the type of work you're doing, and those are just my opinions.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Oh, I've done the descriptions at the start of chapters—though not in the same books where I had chapter titles. They seemed the fitting thing to do for the sort of setting in Goblin Moon and Hobgoblin Night. Those were rather fun because some of them were a bit tongue-in-cheek.
 
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I often name my chapters. I used to give them these 'wacky' names inspired by anime episodes I watched as a kid to make them sound exciting. Now I just name the title with the chapter number and something pertaining to the contents of said chapter without actually mentioning anything that happens. Something as simple as my most recent being just, '4 - Monsters'.
 

paranoid marvin

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I like the way Tolkien does it; with roman numerals and a title.

Eg

Chapter VII

The Great River



I think chapters and titles help to turn a book into a story.
 

Saiyali

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I use chapter names because at best, a chapter should be a story in and of itself, in addition to being a key part of a larger whole. Giving them names makes that more explicit. I like the archaic technique as mentioned, Chapter X, in which Y and Z locate mcguffin, then lose it, and discover something even better, but it is more appropriate when each chapter is being published separately and a week apart. It's like an archaic version of the modern pre-credit voice-over Previously... and now:
 

Maseeha.Aellari

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I always write chapter titles because I'm one of those weird readers who appreciates a good title (for fantasy anyway).
Sometimes I write the chapter first and then name it so the title fits the tone of the chapter.
Other times I name it because I actually know what's supposed to happen.

My chapter titles also have (please read this like some immortal being) SYMBOLIC POWER *lightning sparks as the earth trembles beneath you*. In the first novel, there's only one POV, which is my MC and all the chapter titles start with "the" (e.g. The Raid). BUT in the second novel, the POV is split between my MC thread and her twin sister's thread. For now, they're going to have the same chapter titles, but the one's for my MC will start with "the" and the ones for her sister will start with "a". Yes, it's complicated, but it makes me happy.

I also have this "log" thing where my MC does a reveal of emotions/inner thoughts, just so I can create a closer POV. The journal that she uses is also very important in the storyline and I didn't want it to be forgotten.
 

Juliana

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I usually don't name them — just put numbers. As a reader, I like both. Chapter titles can be fun, if well thought out, but depending on the sort of book (fast-paced urban fantasy, thrillers, etc) I find them unnecessary as they can break the flow if I'm really caught up in the story.

I name them
I can attest that HB does indeed write great chapter titles. So does @The Bluestocking! I think they work particularly well in books that have a bit of humor to them, like Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. (He actually starts each chapter of his Trials of Apollo series with a haiku, which is next-level chapter title work!)
 

paranoid marvin

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Of course there is also Song of Ice and Fire series, where the chapter titles are the POV character’s name for that chapter.

I thought another neat way of doing it.


Yes. I wonder if anyone has tried reading the book series just from the perspective of one POV. ie just read the Arya Stark chapters. Would it be a coherent read?
 

Guanazee

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I named chapters with a number and title in my chapter book for ages 6-9. That's common for that age range though. For my middle grade for ages 8-12 I'm using chapter numbers plus an epigraph that foreshadows the chapter.
 

Phyrebrat

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When I write a first draft I don’t even write chapters. I write scenes and then at compile stage arrange them into chapters. It’s much easier that way and allows me to focus on the story.

I quite like authors using chapter titles but I’ve never done it.
 

Robert Zwilling

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I number the chapters and give them a title that refers to a place or an event in the chapter. I try to make the chapter title sound interesting. This comes from publishing a lot of poetry on line. Many times, if the title doesn't catch a person's attention they never click on it to read the poem. This also carries over to naming my artwork.
 

Biskit

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It depends on my mood and the story.
For the urban fantasies (Hell of Deal/Road to Hell/Hell of a Bite) I just used numbers, but the collection of shorts I did in that world (The Letter Hex) each "chapter" is a story and has a title. For the scifi (Streamrider) I did chapter titles, and so far as I recall those were to remind me of the plot as I was going along, but in the end I decided that I liked them and so left them in, probably because they all mean something, all relate to the content of the chapter, and many of them have a nasty piece of sarcasm attached.
For the space opera thing I'm writing at present, the chapter heading is just the POV character name.
 
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Do you name your chapters or just number them or do a combination of both? For example, would you choose, "The Great Escape," "Chapter 1," or "Chapter 1 - The Great Escape"? Could you explain why you prefer one over the others
For me, It honestly depends on the project and if I'm motivated enough to label them. But when I am motivated, labeling can offer the reader a curious hint into the chapter, making them want to continue reading the novel.
I prefer "Chapter 1- The Great Escape" It just has a better ring to it, unless it's like a three-part chapter section then I'd go with "The Great Escape, Chapter 1, 2, 3, etc".
 

Valtharius

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A few others have alluded to this, but for my more "serious" writing I try to open with a philosophic, slightly enigmatic quote that's relevant to what will come next.
 

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