Writers’ Group: Chapters and Editing

28 Aug

We tried a new format in my writing group and I have to say, it went really well! Instead of a single person talking on a topic of their choice for an hour, we had a few people talk about a topic they wanted for about ten minutes. With the discussion that came after, three people filled up our hour! I’m going split this up over two posts because I have so much to say about each one.

First, Rachel talked about chapters. A chapter is a narrative unit of a larger story. It helps to facilitate the transitions in the story. Historically, chapters divided up non-fiction works so they could be referenced for particular subjects without having to read the whole book. Later, they were used to show a change in time or place.

Now, chapters move stories along in many ways. They help with pacing, point of view changes, time jumps, location changes, dividing events, and moving to different storylines. Chapters are only one way of dividing a story. Writers can also use volumes, parts, and sections.

Rachel presented some tips about chapters as well. Some that stood out to me were:

  • Chapters don’t have the be the same length
  • Ending chapters with cliffhangers keeps a reader’s attention but don’t do it too often.
  • Numbering chapters is not mandatory

Our next mini topic was editing types. There are three major types: developmental (also called structural), copy, and proof. Developmental focuses on the story arc and contents and should be pursued before the other two. Copy edit deals more with accuracy and readability of the material, also looking for consistency of things such as tense and characters. Finally, a proof edit is a grammatical read-through to make small changes for linguistic accuracy.

Clearly, doing a proof edit before a developmental edit isn’t going to help anyone. Doing edits in this order is important or else you’ve erased the impact of earlier edits which will have to be repeated. There are several places online one can find editors such as Fiverr and Upwork. Be sure you understand fees and the type of edit you’re going to get from a freelance editor before working with them.

We had one more topic to discuss but I’ll save it for next week to keep this post a reasonable length. Besides, I’ve got something special saved for Thursday!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!


3 Responses to “Writers’ Group: Chapters and Editing”

  1. Whimsically Meghan August 28, 2018 at 4:25 PM #

    Great post! I agree with ending chapters on cliffhangers! When done too many times I get tired and bored and no longer interested. It’s like yes I get you want the reader to be invested but if you have to keep doing that to keep them reading, you’re doing something wrong!
    I also agree with the editing part as well. I’m a proofreader and if you do things in the wrong order you end up looking at thing waaaay more times than you need, trust me; I’ve been there!


    • Sam August 28, 2018 at 9:36 PM #

      I’m so curious, how do you get into proofreading? What kind of background do you have and where do you get clients? I hope you don’t mind sharing! Happy reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Whimsically Meghan August 29, 2018 at 4:49 PM #

        I did my studies in Journalism, and most companies looking for proofreaders look to see someone with either an English Degree or Journalism Degree.
        I initially wanted to be an editor (mainly copy editor, and I know there is still lots of time for it) but I found my way into proofreading grocery flyers and now food packaging, very niche area. I don’t have any clients because for both of my proofreading jobs I’ve worked as part of big companies, so I’m not really quite sure about gaining clients. I do hope this was insightful! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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