How long should a chapter be in a novel? Is there an industry standard? If so, what is it?

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I don’t think there is an industry standard regarding chapter length. However, some 1,500 to 2,500 words (about five to eight pages in most print) seems to be a good chapter length. The chapter should be long enough to give us a significant plot point, yet short enough to be easily “digested”.

Extremely short chapters are acceptable, if they represent an entire plot point and just happen to be only a page or so in length. Conversely, lengthy chapters should be broken into shorter ones; 5,000-word chapters are kind of exhausting.

I used to figure out my chapter breaks in my outlines. However, lately I’ve taken to simply placing breaks at certain places where I feel they’re needed - particularly if there’s a scene or setting change or we skip to a different time - and worry about splitting the whole into chapters after the rough draft. Often, after the rough draft has been edited, I’ll rearrange, delete, or even add a chapter, or split what became a too-long chapter into two.

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