What did everyone make of Pratchett not using chapters?

DAgent

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I remember reading one of the quotes from a review in the paperback version of either "Guards Guards" or "Men At Arms" where the very first quote was calling him a complete amateur for not writing in chapters, then every other quote sang PTerry's praises. But what does everyone here think?
Was he being experimental and found a style he liked and stuck to it for the most part?
Was he on to something about presentation that we all might want to emulate?
Would the Discworld novels have been better in some way if he had wrote in chapters?
OR did he actually write in chapters but just didn't bother to put in a page break, headings and so on?
 

Montero

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I think he writes in sections.
I don't really notice chapters all that well. I've occasionally tripped over reading books where there is important information given in a fancy chapter heading, because I tend to track my eyes from the last line of text on one page to the first line of text on the next - with the chapter heading counting as decoration. Then three paragraphs in I am doing "wtf" and "where are they" and finally come up for air enough to realise I should have read the chapter heading which says "famous five go to the old inn for a beer" or whatever - as the text just launches into the conversation they are having once they've sat down with their pints.
 

Elckerlyc

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I don't mind or miss the absence of chapters. To be honest, I never even noticed TP's novels have no chapters, until I checked just now.
But then, I'm a complete amateur. ;)
 

The Judge

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At least two of the Discworld books** have chapters, Going Postal and Making Money, undoubtedly so he could play around with chapters headings along the lines of 18th and 19th century novels eg one chapter from MM has a lengthy heading, beginning

Jailbreak -- The prospect of the kidney sandwich -- The barber-surgeon's knock -- Suicide by paint, inadvisability of -- Angels at one remove

and carries on for another 3 or 4 lines. He also gave chapters to The Amazing Maurice, again so he could play around, this time with quotes from Mr Bunnsy Has An Adventure.

Personally, I wish he had chapters in the other books as well, since when I'm reading, a chapter break gives me a definite place to stop. When there's only a blank line, I invariably glance at the start of the next section and before I know it, another hour's gone by...


** I've not read Raising Steam but as that's also a MvL book, that may well also have them
 

M. Robert Gibson

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"famous five go to the old inn for a beer" or whatever - as the text just launches into the conversation they are having once they've sat down with their pints.

I didn't know Enid Blyton wrote about underage drinking. I'd like to read that story! ;)
 

reddishbird

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It took me a while to worry about any lack of chapters, and I very much enjoy his notes that appear on the bottom of some pages.
 

Luiglin

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As long as the writing and story is good, does it really matter?

My own theory is that he did it to make people keep reading until they got to the end. No chapters, no places to stop and stick your bookmark.
 

AnyaKimlin

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I read a book in a few hours mostly - chapters or lack of them don't bother me. I don't often notice them - it's quite nice not to need to wait to a chapter end to go for a cup of tea.

Chapters aren't a requirement they're a courtesy. Terry Pratchett walked that fine line between literary and genre that few writers achieve: great story and characters that are written intelligently with thought to the language used.
 

Vertigo

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I'm not bothered by chapters being absent or present. They serve a purpose for some authors to provide extra background (Asher does this a lot) which is fine with me but equally, so long as some kind of break is present, then no chapters is also fine with me. To be honest I never really noticed their absence in Pratchett's work.

On the other hand too many chapters drives me bonkers. A recent book had 70 chapters in 350 pages; that's an average of 5 pages per chapter and each chapter changed POV. I suppose at least the change was 'well signalled' but I ended up suffering something akin to literary seas sickness!
 

BAYLOR

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I enjoyed the books and didn't care about that at all. :)
 

Elentarri

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I didn't notice when I read his books as a kid (I had more time to read then). Now, it's just bloody annoying. I need a convenient place to stop reading and chapters usually provide that. No chapters and I just stop randomly.
 

Harpo

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I didn't notice when I read his books as a kid (I had more time to read then). Now, it's just bloody annoying. I need a convenient place to stop reading and chapters usually provide that. No chapters and I just stop randomly.
What I always do is finish at the end of the first paragraph on the left hand page, then I only need a bookmark
 

Pyan

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At least two of the Discworld books** have chapters, Going Postal and Making Money, undoubtedly so he could play around with chapters headings along the lines of 18th and 19th century novels eg one chapter from MM has a lengthy heading, beginning

Jailbreak -- The prospect of the kidney sandwich -- The barber-surgeon's knock -- Suicide by paint, inadvisability of -- Angels at one remove
My 1884 copy of The Swiss Family Robinson has these - not only in the list of chapters (below), but also repeated at the start of each chapter.

s-l1600.jpg
 

Yozh

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I've read a good number of Discworld books and actually never noticed the lack of chapters! Huh.
 

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