Word count each chapter?

Hi, guys. I´ve been reading a bit about how many words should be in a chapter, from 3000 to 5000 I think it I read. I usually write around 4k, but I´ve been getting some feedback that people think it is too long, so I guess it might be something different on Wattpad than in a normal book. What do you consider is a great chapter length on Wattpad?

It totally depends on the reader, but it’s definitely true that many Wattpad readers prefer chapters in the 2-3k range. However I wouldn’t think 4k is too long either… >.> Just longer than the usual easy-fun-gratification chapters would be.

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For Wattpad maybe a thousand or 2. I also try for 3-5 thousand because I want to publish what I have without changing much. So it’s ok to have “too many” words if writing a “real average” book is what you’re going for

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Thank you so much for replying! At first I was a little confused since I hadn´t read anything on wattpad until I joined a book club, but it looked like they didn´t write chapters that were as long as mine. I´ll take that under consideration, I don´t want readers to back away if they think it´s too much.

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I usually go for anywhere around 3K, with chapters varying from 2.5K-4K

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If a chapter is a single sentence, it’s one sentence. If it’s twenty thousand words, it’s twenty thousand words. Chapters can be as long or short as you think it’s necessary—if a scene, a few scenes, or an overall theme is contained within that chapter. There is no sweet spot for every story in the world.

Genre can dictate the length of chapters. Horror tends to have short chapters because it keeps up the tense atmosphere, similarly to intense action scenes using short sentences. Romance has longer chapters because description and feelings are beginning to take priority, so scenes can be lengthier. Fantasy that introduces an entire world or culture tends to have even longer chapters than romance because this information is pertinent. But, just because this is a trend among these genres, it doesn’t mean you have to follow it. You can have long chapters in horror just as much as you can have short chapters in fantasy if you feel it works for your story.

Media and where you post can dictate how long your chapters are. For sites that aren’t mobile friendly, most readers read from a computer, so longer chapters are welcomed, but, for sites such as Wattpad where 80% of the readers read from their smartphones, shorter chapters are recommended if you care about numbers and stats . You can still post epically long chapters and still get dedicated readers, they’ll just more than likely be reading from the computer. I think if the mobile version would load longer chapters properly, there would be more people willing to read stories with longer chapters.

Even if you’re still worried about readers being bogged down by lengthy chapters, you can break up chapters to give readers a reprieve while still being easy to find their place later. Time skips, location skips, POV switches, and other things have been published before. The only reason for “boring” chapters is because seemingly nothing happens in it. Breaking up the chapter won’t fix that, you’ll just have numerous boring chapters in a row.

Keeping a consistent word count can help with being on schedule for your readers, but sometimes this sacrifices pacing and cutting scenes in the middle or forcing chapters to be longer than necessary. It’s entirely up to you.

I used to write 2000 word chapters, but, looking back on it, I see that I could have combined chapters, cut chapters, and just changed everything. I don’t like what I have done. Preferably, I write longer chapters, but it depends on the demands of the story. I also prefer to read long chapters. In fact, if chapters of online stories are consistently shorter than a thousand words, I don’t even bother.

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Yeah, I know what you mean. I also think a little more in the long run, if I ever were lucky enough to get something published. I´m also confused about the “spacing” issue that many comments on, didn´t get it at first since I hadn´t read anything on Wattpad until I joined a book club. I get why they space it out like they do, but I want mine to look a little more like a book format than what is normal on Wattpad. But the problem is, I kind of think they expect them to be spaced out like that, so it might annoy them a bit if they aren´t. Dilemmas, hahaha

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Wattpad personally suggests around 2k, I believe. A lot of people on this website are reading on the go and long chapters don’t always load properly on certain devices.

If you are looking to get your book professionally published, I’d recommend continuing to write as you are, but maybe posting a shortened copy here.

You are right that Wattpad chapter length very much differs from published books.

Generally I try to stay below 3k, but do occassionally need to stray from that.

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For me as a mobile reader, 4k is extremely long and I probably wouldn’t even finish haha. I think 2k is the sweet spot. Anything more and I think it’s too long.

Personally I write shorter chapters around 1k - 1.5k.

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Thanks for the reply! I have thought about the word count for awhile, so it´s good to get some answers :smiley:

Thank you for taking the time to write to me, I really appreciate it! :heart: From what you have written, I am satisfied with having gotten my question answered in the best way. I do feel like most of my readers would prefer shorter chapters, and now I understand why.

I get what you say about looking back at what you have done and not liking it, I am in a major rewrite right now because I hated how I had written the chapters and I wanted to shorten it, but didn´t know how much to cut (now I do).

Thank you so much!

I didn´t know Wattpad had suggested anything, but it´s good to know. I do want to get my books published someday. I think that I might cut up the chapters in half and give a part one and two on wattpad for each chapter. Either way, I will shorten the chapters on Wattpad. Thank you so much for your advise!

Good to know :smiley: I´m doing a major rewrite of those chapters I have out now so it will be more suitable for Wattpad readers (Also because I haaaate some of the things I have written and it needs editing). Thanks for the advise!

I think it completely depends on why you are on Wattpad! If you want to be successful, I’d recommend shorter chapters because readers are less likely to get bored but also If you split your chapters then you get more reads and votes, which helps you in the algorithm. However, if you aren’t necessarily looking for Wattpad popularity, juts a platform to publish your work on for personal reasons, keep your chapters as they are if that’s how you like them:)

It also depends on the genre- I feel like teen fiction/romance/humour books tend to have less words than fantasy but I’m not 100% sure why!

:slight_smile: xx

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Thank you! I´ll definitely keep that in mind. I do want to be successful on Wattpad, and I will start shortening the chapters. I haven´t thought about those who read via mobil or tablets, but I get now why it is important to have shorter chapters so it will be easier for them to read.

I faced a similar dilemma earlier on wattpad, when I posted my story in full length parts instead of chapters. However, I have now edited them carefully after observing other writers.

Even I find it difficult to keep my chapters short, but again I feel that every chapter should have some contribution to the plot, and hence I don’t mind if the word count goes up to 3k sometimes!

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There is no such thing as a restricted amount. It’s as long as whatever it needs to be. However, there are reasons why people don’t like longer chapters.

For one, it could be because of their preference. Some people think anything above 1,000 words is too long. Sometimes this comes from short attention spans, bad eye sight, or the fact that they can’t figure out how to save their spot.

Secondly, it could mean that your chapter is boring in some form of way. Pacing is vital in keeping the reader’s attention, and if you’re writing a really slow chapter, especially when you’re adding in information that isn’t needed, then you’re slowing the book down and making it boring for the reader. Think of it like school. When you’re in a boring class, an hour can feel like an eternity. But when you’re in a fun class, an hour can feel like two seconds. With reading, 4,000 words in a boring chapter can feel like 20,000 words that never ends. But in a well written chapter, 4,000 words can be like one sentence.

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You’ve summed it up perfectly

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Good to know I am not the only one. I have began doing a rewrite on the chapter I have posted, so I too can make it suitable for Wattpad readers.

I agree that every chapter should have some contribution to the plot.

True. After reading my chapters, I do feel I have much I can cut out as to not make is as boring as I feel it is now. But I will also shorten every chapter since it has come to my attention that many reads via phone or tablet, and it can be too much for them on smaller devices.