Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chapter Titles & Space

Whew, feels a little roomier around here. I can stretch my thought legs out with a little more ease. (Thought legs are a bit like sea legs, but they don’t shrivel in water.) Do you like what I’ve done with the place? A major redecoration.
~~~Just wanting to know one thing from you today, What are your thoughts on chapter titles?

Do you like them? Could you do without? Do they add anything or do chapter titles simply hog space that wanted to stretch white out on the page?


*this time I’ll reveal my thoughts because it’s not a One Question Friday. Chapter titles? I quite like them and they’re welcome to take up space in any book I read.
**I have an article published over at
Sage Girls Ministry
***My article about being culturally relevant without compromise is published at
****photos by flickr


  1. I haven't used chapter titles in my own writing but I sometimes enjoy witty chapter titles in the books I'm reading.

  2. I don't use them in my own writing, but I can take 'em or leave 'em in what I read. Great question!

  3. I'm not big on chapter titles, but they can work. My friend uses special quotes for each chapter of her book and I always think they're so great!
    Great new look Wendy. ;-)

  4. I like the new look. It is roomier. I don't really have an opinion about chapter titles. I don't use them, but it's not because I have anything against them.

  5. I love the new look! Very chic.

    I don't use chapter titles in my work, there doesn't seem to be a way I can tie them in and make them juicy and relevant.

    There are books who have succeeded at that, and I love it.

  6. LOVE the new look! Blue and brown is one of my favorite color combinations...my bedroom is all blues and browns.

    Okay, chapter titles...hmm...I haven't used them, but I don't mind them either. They're mostly periphery to me.

    Off to check out your other articles :)

  7. I haven't used them in my fiction ms, but do use them in my nonfiction. I agree with Tamika, if they are relevant and help move that all important story along, then they get my vote.

  8. Oh man, I could never come up with chapter titles for my own work, that'd take way too long, but I must say, I love seeing chapter titles in books. They intrique me, when done well, and keep me reading to find out why the title. Just another way to hook the reader I guess.

  9. I LOVE IT! Great choice!!!

    Honestly, I rarely read chapter titles. I mean, I might if it's a literary book, but anything else I won't. Like Harry Potter--I never read any of the chapter titles. I don't want anything to be given away, ya know? Even the contents of a chapter should surprise me.

  10. Some of my general fiction has chapter titles. I don't really mind it. Stephen King used to do it in his older work and he practically molded me, so that's probably where I got it ;)

  11. I only like them when they are clever and kind of retro, in other people's work. I started out using them in my first novel, then I realized they interrupted the flow of the story and made the reader more conscious of the act of reading. For my novels, I aim for total immersion in the world of the story, so chapter titles won't work.

  12. I like them as a way to pull everything together by chapter's end. But after reading Rachelle Gardner's post today ("Foreshadowing vs. Telegraphing"), I wonder if chapters telegraph too much.

    I'm glad you brought this up, because I doubt I'd have otherswise put the two together. I'll be watching now.

  13. Loving the new digs!! Very very nice, indeed.

    As for chapter titles...they don't bother me in the least. Sometimes, in certain books I have read, I haven't really understood why the author used them...but then in others, they have actually helped to build the story line.

    :) Bina

  14. I love a good chapter title - it gets my excited about reading that portion of the book! It also helps me find what I am looking for when I want to tell my husband about something I read, but I forgot to mark it! :P

    so - my thoughts? chapter titles = good

  15. ps- looooooooooooooove the new look!!! :):)

  16. Love the new look!

    Haven't given chapter titles much thought. I probably could live without them. Can't remember the last book I read that had them!

  17. Love the blog makeover. Thinking about bedazzleing mine up a bit too. :O)

  18. Ooh, LOVE the new look here! I'm cleaning up my blog look, too, but I'm waiting for my website to revamped.

    Sometimes chapter titles annoy me and sometimes I really appreciate them because they're so clever. How's that answer? LOL

    I find it pulls me out of a story when all I really want to do is keep reading the book. Ya know?

  19. The blog is lookin' good!

    Regarding chapter titles, I usually like them when I see them in published books. I don't think every book should have them, though, and I don't like them if they give something away.

    Congrats on getting that article published!

  20. Yup I noticed the new look Wendy! It looks great!
    Re: chapter titles... Fumbling through some good ones.

  21. paulgreci, I get a kick out of them, too. Glad to have you stop by!

    Janna, I like taking 'em.

    Jessica, If done right, that would really interest me.

    Susan, I'm glad to know you don't have anything against them. :D

    Tamika, Just discovered my favorite fiction and non-fiction did this well. Ah ha!

    Beth, Periphery. Hmm. Thinking on that. Blue and brown says class to me.

    Joanne, They get my vote, too. For the same reasons. I'll have to check out your non-fiction.

    Eileen, Intrigue and hook. Two reasons why I enjoy them.

    Kristen, Interesting perspective. Hadn't thought of it as giving away...thinking.

    T.Anne, Today I took two of my favs off the shelf and realized where my love of it stems from.

    Rosslyn, Immersion and flow are essentials. I need to read your stuff!

    Anne, I read it and was fascinated by it. Learned a new word and thing to look for also. Interesting, there seems to be a theme of the potential to give away too much in a chapter title. Thinking.

    Bina, I'm sensing a feeling of indifference in many here today.

    Lauren, My sentiments exactly!

    Donna, That says something, that you can't remember the last book you read that had them.

    Diane, I'll look forward to that.

    Jennifer, Certainly we don't want to pull people out of the story. I'm beginning to sense these are tricky and must be done with a lot of thought.

    Dawn, Thanks about the article. I'm evaluating the giving something away part. Thinking about mine.

    Ellie, Did you get your hands on some?

    Once again I thank you for the light you shed on such topics. I won't keep you in the dark about my favs I mentioned before. Today I pulled Peace Like a River and Blue Like Jazz off my shelf and saw...ShaZam! both have CHAPTER TITLES. These rank as two of my favorite books, so it is no surprise I'm drawn to them.

    You all keep the mind ticking and the heart thinking. Switch intended.

    Thanks for that.

    I hope you sleep wondering if God has titles of your life etched on His heart.
    ~ Wendy

  22. Love the re-decorating you did!
    I can go either way on titles. I don't need them to keep up but if they are clever or clue-like then I like that too.

    Started to title every chapter in the book I wrote. Had some clever ones, some witty ones, some plays-on-words. But had chapters with no title ideas at all. I spent too much time trying to title so I scrapped the idea altogether. Maybe after a good edit I'll change my mind.

    Great post as usual.

  23. Hmmm...I've never really thought about this. I suppose I like them, when they are creatively done. I just finished reading The Great Gilly Hopkins with a group of my students and it has the best chapter titles, although no chapter number, which sort of annoyed me when I was giving kids chapters to read.

  24. I think chapter titles are expected in YA and under. For adult writing it's up to the writer and publisher.

  25. Just dropping by to tell you what a blessing you are to me! :-) Thanks for all of your sweet comments and encouragement.

    LOVE your new blog design. Blue and brown look SO great together.

    Praying God's sweet blessings upon you, your precious fam and your writing ministry.

    With love,

  26. I do like chapter titles, but not in everything. They make me view a book as more as a series of episodes than as one whole, so it depends on the type of story and the type of writing.

  27. I like em...it's sort of like a clue, which helps my brain get adjusted to what's coming, and better prepares me for it. Trust me, with this brain, I need lots of help!


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