Does anyone have an easy way to adjust where the chapter breaks are?

Bramandin

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I'm using word right now. Sofar my breakdown is 1122, 1405, 995, 1856. I was planning to put the first three together or the middle two together, but being able to move the chapter-breaks around could also work since the chapter-breaks are similar to intelligently putting commercial-breaks into a movie.
 

Wayne Mack

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I went with a simpler approach. I just use a page break, followed by a handful of lines, then a centered chapter number. I also simply label each chapter as 'Chapter XX.' Splitting or merging chapters consists of either pasting in a new chapter divide or taking one out. Then is it simple a manual process to search for 'Chapter' and update the number as appropriate.
 

The Judge

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I don't understand your question, Bramandin.

Are you asking how long your chapters should be? If so, then the trite answer is to make them as long as they need to be and no longer. And no one can judge that without reading what you've written. There is no magic number as to the lengths of scenes and chapters, because it all depends -- on what's happening, what the characters are doing, what is necessary for the pace of the story, and even what kind of book you're writing.

If you're asking for advice as to whether you ought to merge two or perhaps three chapters into one, then again there's simply no way anybody can give an helpful answer to that without reading all of the chapters concerned.

If you're asking where to bring in chapter breaks, then redzwritez raised a similar query here Where do chapters start and end? but again it's not something that others can help with.

If you're not confident making decisions of this kind, then it does seem to me that you need to find a writing group that will help you.


EDIT: Further to Wayne's post, as I was writing, I was wondering if you simply meant how, in Word, you could move the chapters around, but that seemed rather a strange thing to ask, to put it no higher. Surely it's a simple matter of copy and pasting and removing page breaks if you're writing in one continuous document, and then renumbering as necessary. (I work in discrete documents for individual chapters, but the process is much the same.)
 
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Venusian Broon

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I went with a simpler approach. I just use a page break, followed by a handful of lines, then a centered chapter number. I also simply label each chapter as 'Chapter XX.' Splitting or merging chapters consists of either pasting in a new chapter divide or taking one out. Then is it simple a manual process to search for 'Chapter' and update the number as appropriate.
Personally I like using the 'Heading' functionality - you can use a ready made format called 'heading' in the Home tab, or, I believe design your own.

Same as you, use a page break then I format each chapter title with this format, and automatically the word document lists all the headings in the 'Navigation' panel using the headings group. Clicking on the chapter title in the navigation pane then moves you immediately to that point in the text. No need to search!
 

Bramandin

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Surely it's a simple matter of copy and pasting and removing page breaks if you're writing in one continuous document, and then renumbering as necessary. (I work in discrete documents for individual chapters, but the process is much the same.)

I write in multiple documents because it quickly turns into a mess if I don't start a new document every 1,000 words or so. It's still a mess, but it would be a bigger one if I put all of the words into one document.

It's that I have these chapters that aren't the right length and I can combine them and redivide them to make them more even, but the only thing I could think of with how to do that was just to guess and there's a lot of room to mess up if I'm cutting and pasting between documents until I get it right.

If I put the done ones in a master document, will it be easy to adjust where the breaks are? I haven't tried to learn to use word processor software since Wordperfect class in High School.
 

The Judge

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OK, this is more or less how I've done it in the past, which will sound long-winded but means you've less chance of losing something important:
  1. make a copy of the first chapter and call it something like "Chapters 1-4 working copy" (I'm saying 1-4, but obviously you call it 11-15 or whatever the real numbers are)
  2. copy each of the second, third and fourth chapters into that working copy
  3. use that working copy as the place to fiddle with the layouts of the chapters and their lengths until you're happy with them -- if things get confusing, copy that working copy and then call it eg "Ch 1-4 working copy version 2" and continue to work on that second version
  4. I wouldn't bother with page breaks in the working copy, as long as it's clear where each new chapter begins
  5. when you're happy, create a folder called eg "Archived chapters" and put the original 4 chapters in it, so they remain safe
  6. split your working copy up -- if it's now condensed down to 3 chapters, make 3 copies of it and title the copies Chapters 1 to 3 respectively
  7. in each of the new 3 chapters, delete the text that isn't needed for that particular chapter
  8. put the working copy into the folder called "Archived chapters" with the original 4 so it's still available if something goes wrong eg you delete the wrong paragraphs somewhere
 

Wayne Mack

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It's that I have these chapters that aren't the right length
If I find that I have chapters that feel too long or too short, but accomplish what I want them to, then I will most often edit those chapters to add or remove text. Unless chapters have a strong commonality, I would not merge them together to reach a 'proper' word count. Likewise, unless there is a satisfying plot point in the middle of a long chapter, I would not subdivide to reach a word count target. I am probably not experienced enough to be able to analyze my writing, so unfortunately, I can only give my subjective feel on when I decide to have a chapter break.
 

Bramandin

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If I find that I have chapters that feel too long or too short, but accomplish what I want them to, then I will most often edit those chapters to add or remove text. Unless chapters have a strong commonality, I would not merge them together to reach a 'proper' word count. Likewise, unless there is a satisfying plot point in the middle of a long chapter, I would not subdivide to reach a word count target. I am probably not experienced enough to be able to analyze my writing, so unfortunately, I can only give my subjective feel on when I decide to have a chapter break.

The story is a bit of a slow drift right now where I could easily have 5,000 words or 500 per chapter. The first 1,000 words has a teleportation to a new place that looks like it happens 2/3 of the way in, file 2 is 1,400 and the first 1/4 is traveling from where they were at the end of file 1 to the next place, then they argue and it ends with one character telling the other to take a bath. Part 3 is just under 1,000 and has the bath and going to bed. Part 4 starts the next morning and is 1,800. I could make it a bit longer before they leave, but I think just under 2,000 is good to aim for. Part 5 is that they got where they were going after a paragraph describing the journey.

Okay, so not all of those have places where I can adjust the chunk-size like a chapter, but I think it will work without changing what happens. I could make the bath-scene longer by adding more conversation, but I want to try dividing part 2 so it pads 1 and 3 first.
 

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