There are a couple of good reasons to title your chapters.
First of all, when you are writing a novel, you often want to “hook” your reader into reading the next chapter. A good chapter title can do that. You don’t have to work hard at it. Something as simple as “A Killer Unmasked” promises the reader that if he or she continues on, the killer in the story will be revealed in that chapter. It’s subtle, simple, and quick.
It can also be a pain for the writer. Many times, I’ve asked authors why they didn’t title their chapters, and the response has been, “Well, I tried, but I never could think of a great title for chapter seven.” I’ve been there, done that myself. In that case, don’t look for a great title, just look for any title that might act as a hook.
Of course, the chapter title isn’t the only hook. You can load them into the opening prose itself so that you hook the reader dozens of ways.
The second reason to title your chapters has to do with the editing process. Imagine that you’ve decided, “Oh, I need to go back and show that my character Joe gets in a bad mood when he hasn’t had coffee.” You say, “I know just the place to do it—in that scene where he gets out of bed in the morning. Now where was that?”
If you just have numbers for your chapters, you probably won’t remember that it was in chapter 37. But the chapter titles provide something of an outline for you. It helps you recall how you’ve ordered your novel. So you can very easily remember, “Oh, yeah, it was in that chapter ‘A Killer Unmasked.’”
So make life easy for yourself: Title your chapters!
The Highland Duke
A past student of mine, Amy Jarecki won the Reviewers’ Choice Award for best first traditionally published historical romance of 2017 for her novel The Highland Duke.
The Highland Duke is a delightful introduction to the Lords of the Highlands series where healer Akira Ayres happens upon a mysterious man with a musket ball embedded in his thigh and does everything in her power to help him escape.
Amy is giving away five signed copies. You can enter to win here.
Learn more or order The Highland Duke here.
Live Writing Workshops
Fyrecon Master Class
Explore the writing process step-by-step over three days (four hours each day) and see exactly how it is done. Each hour we’ll cover a new step toward completion and beyond.
Hour 1–Brainstorming, “1001 Ideas in an Hour”
Hour 2–Brainstorming Settings
Hour 3–Create Your Characters
Hour 4–Weaving the Plot
Hour 5–Focus on Writing (Cleaning your palette, creating a writing space, focus)
Hour 6–Drafting Your Opening/Hooking Your Reader
Hour 7–Enchanting Your Reader Image by Image
Hour 8–Adding Complications
Hour 9–Powerful Endings
Hour 10–Editing to Greatness/Working with Editors
Hour 11–Sending it Out, Dealing With Editors and Agents
Hour 12–How to Make a Living as a Writer
12 Hour Master class $239
(includes general admission)
Class is limited to 30 students
Thursday, June 21st, 9am – 1pm
Friday, June 22nd, 9am – 1pm
Saturday, June 23rd, 9am – 1pm
Register or learn more here.
Quick Start Your Writing Career
Please join David for his new workshop, Quick Start Your Writing Career, held on June 30, 2018 at the the Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center at 101 W. 100 North, Provo, Utah 84601 USA. Ph. +1 801-377-4700.
The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a one-hour break for lunch. There are numerous restaurants near the hotel.
The workshop costs $99 for the day and lunch is not included. There is space for 80 attendees.
Dave will speak about the following subjects:
- Breaking onto the Bestseller Lists
- How to Get Discovered
- Defining Yourself As an Author
- Plotting Your Career
- Going Indie vs. Traditional Publishing
- Multimedia–Your Most Indispensable Asset
- How to Reach a Vast Audience
- Dealing with Agents, Editors, and Movie Producers.