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Chapter titles (1 Viewer)

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indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Could use some ideas / advice:

In the past, when I've changed the POV character I've done so by section, stating the character's name, as in:

Part 1. Liam
Chapter 1: chapter name
Chapter 2: chapter name
.
.
.

For my WIP, I have 2 MC's and I alter POV with each chapter (never IN the chapter). Odd number chapters are all one character and even numbers are the other.
I was thinking of just making a point to name the character within the first paragraph so the reader knows whose eyes they are looking through. But I might also go with adding their name to each chapter name, as in:
Chapter 1: Tom; chapter name
Chapter 2: Eris; chapter name

Opinions? Name in chapter title and first paragraph, or just in the first paragraph?
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
Totally up to you, and anything you decide is OK. In Heinlein's Number of the Beast, he has four MCs, all in first person. He doesn't have a chapter title, but he identifies the next narrator at the start of the chapter with "Name:".

I think your suggested format at the bottom of your comment works just fine.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
Could use some ideas / advice:

In the past, when I've changed the POV character I've done so by section, stating the character's name, as in:

Part 1. Liam
Chapter 1: chapter name
Chapter 2: chapter name
.
.
.

For my WIP, I have 2 MC's and I alter POV with each chapter (never IN the chapter). Odd number chapters are all one character and even numbers are the other.
I was thinking of just making a point to name the character within the first paragraph so the reader knows whose eyes they are looking through. But I might also go with adding their name to each chapter name, as in:
Chapter 1: Tom; chapter name
Chapter 2: Eris; chapter name

Opinions? Name in chapter title and first paragraph, or just in the first paragraph?

I have to admit I'm not a fan of the character name in the chapter title. I just see it a whole lot. I'm not really a fan of switching POVs with each chapter religiously anyway, preferring to stick with a POV for a bit and switch when it is natural to do so, cluing us in to whose POV in maybe a less contrived way. In your case I would prefer, personally, the character's own named section and then chapters within that as normal.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I'm reading Departure right now. Good work BTW! One of the things I like about it is the way you have titled it. It works very well for me. You don't put the name on the chapter title and I have no problem following POV.

I know the books like the Hunger Games puts the names on titles, and I have seen it used commonly more recently, but I don't think it's neccessary. It just sets up the reader to look for a pattern, which is also not neccessary IMO.

Great dialogue as well...but that's another thread. :)
 
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Cephus

Senior Member
I have to admit I'm not a fan of the character name in the chapter title. I just see it a whole lot. I'm not really a fan of switching POVs with each chapter religiously anyway, preferring to stick with a POV for a bit and switch when it is natural to do so, cluing us in to whose POV in maybe a less contrived way. In your case I would prefer, personally, the character's own named section and then chapters within that as normal.

I never do that either. It is just obvious, from the character voice and situation, who is the POV character now. You can't treat your readers like they're idiots. They'll figure it out if you do it well.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I have to admit I'm not a fan of the character name in the chapter title. I just see it a whole lot. I'm not really a fan of switching POVs with each chapter religiously anyway, preferring to stick with a POV for a bit and switch when it is natural to do so, cluing us in to whose POV in maybe a less contrived way. In your case I would prefer, personally, the character's own named section and then chapters within that as normal.

The stories are running in parallel which is why I chose to alternate. The MMC in a besieging army, and the FMC inside the city. They're on opposite sides of the conflict.

The main characters are terrible people at the start, and never meet until the final two chapters.

I'll probably stick with NO name identifier on the chapter, but indicate the POV at the start.
 

EternalGreen

Senior Member
Personally, I hate chapter titles. I prefer the text to speak for itself without the author telling me what they are trying to show.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Personally, I hate chapter titles. I prefer the text to speak for itself without the author telling me what they are trying to show.

I usually use place names, or something cryptic. The chapter I'm writing today is titled 'Threats', which could mean a lot of things. I've considered using just numbers, and may go that way for this book... we'll see.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
Personally, I hate chapter titles. I prefer the text to speak for itself without the author telling me what they are trying to show.

I started out using chapter titles, then used them in the second book in the series since the first book had them, and will keep on in that series. I haven't used them in other work. When I use a chapter title, I try to tie it loosely to the upcoming action, and sometimes use it as mild foreshadowing. However, sometimes I'd be near the end of the chapter and realize I never got around to writing anything that connected to the chapter title. When that happens, I dislike having to title the chapter AFTER the fact. :)

I do think there are situations where a chapter title can help a reader who's put a book down for a while find their place ... easier to remember a chapter title (if they were paying attention) than only a chapter number.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
The stories are running in parallel which is why I chose to alternate. The MMC in a besieging army, and the FMC inside the city. They're on opposite sides of the conflict.

The main characters are terrible people at the start, and never meet until the final two chapters.

I'll probably stick with NO name identifier on the chapter, but indicate the POV at the start.

Which is exactly why I do it. There are times where the story goes in two different directions and needs to be told from two different perspectives to catch the side that the main character wasn't there to witness.
 

Sir-KP

Senior Member
I don't know. For me, title chapter is the only part you can totally go creative on.

For your WIP, when it comes to frequent POV jumping, I would write it like:

Tom's Chapter (or whatever term that fits your story better)
I. Chapter Name

If bolder segmentation is preferred, then maybe:

[Separate page]
Tom's Chapter

[Separate page]
1. Chapter Name
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
Personally, I hate chapter titles. I prefer the text to speak for itself without the author telling me what they are trying to show.

I quite like them simply because they are another opportunity to be creative. One of the chapters in my SF WIP is taken from the google search terms I ran to research it, namely "Brain Cells For Happiness"
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
I hate writing titles generally, but I find chapter titles useful when I am reading, especially when the narrative jumps from place to place like that. One possibility that struck me and does not seem to have been suggested is "Without" and "Within", or "Inside" and "Outside" alternately preceding each chapter title.
 

Hector

Senior Member
In my first novel (We Shall Be One), I called each chapter by the name of one or more characters (e.g Chapter 1: Marcus, Chapter 2: Alexia, Chapter 3: Marcus/Byron), although the story was told in third person. In my following novels, I gave no titles to the chapters, because I didn't want to bother with that anymore. :joyous:
 

BrandonTheWriter

Senior Member
I try to match the Chapter titles to the theme of that chapter, if that makes sense. It can definitely be hard finding the right title, though. I honestly think just calling it 'Chapter 1/2/3 etc.' isn't a bad thing if you have to. I wouldn't judge you for it. I think doing that and coming back later to add flavour to it if you want to is fine.

One suggestion I have is to look at the titles of some episodes of TV shows, it might give you some inspiration. I sometimes do that.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I hate writing titles generally, but I find chapter titles useful when I am reading, especially when the narrative jumps from place to place like that. One possibility that struck me and does not seem to have been suggested is "Without" and "Within", or "Inside" and "Outside" alternately preceding each chapter title.

I thought of that, but there are chapters where the male character has gotten through the wall and is in the city doing mischief (like blowing up a building or killing someone).
 
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