My current work in progress hasn’t – by my own admission – actually made that much progress yet. I have a fairly solid plan that I’m happy with and have jotted down a rough couple of opening chapters. So while I can’t say a huge amount about how the final product will look and feel, I am already noticing a recurring feature that seems present in most of what I write.
Just like in my first published book, The Vessel, and several other manuscripts at varying levels of success and completion, I can see that my chapters are in general fairly short. I think it probably stems from my desire as a writer to move the story on at a fast pace but also as a reader to be able to choose how much I read. I hate putting down a book mid-way through a chapter but sometimes there simply isn’t time to get through a whole one when they seem to be competing in length with War and Peace. With short chapters, you have the freedom to read several if time allows or to just squeeze in one or two as and when you can. This isn’t to say I don’t read and enjoy books with long chapters, of course I do; it’s just an aspect of certain books that I personally like.
I suppose this is a small example of how the books we love most growing up help to shape and inform our own work, as I try to emulate the feeling of relentless progression and fast-paced tension.
Do you have a preference of longer or shorter chapters? Are there any stylistic aspects of your favourite books that you think have inspired your own writing techniques?