Name that Chapter?

When I started writing Acceptance, I named my chapters and made a hyper-linked table of contents in my document. This allowed me to skip around in my document with more ease.

I left the names of the chapters in when I printed a proof copy of my book. My husband noticed them immediately and said I should get rid of them because no one used them anymore. I hadn’t thought about it before, but J. K. Rowling was the only writer I could name off the top of my head who uses them, and when I started looking through my fiction collection, I noticed that the vast majority didn’t have titles.

I left mine in anyways. (Yay for self-publishing!) I don’t know why, but I wanted to have a table of contents in my book, and a table of contents made up of nothing but chapter numbers is just sad.

E-Books Are Special

In the age of ebooks, Jane Ayers wonders if it’s better to have titles for chapters. She said that she’s seeing better sales with one of her books which does have chapter titles, but she’s not sure if that’s a fluke or there’s actually a correlation there.

But it makes sense that ebooks will be more user friendly if they have titled chapters. Think about your favorite book—one you’ve read multiple times. When you pick it up, I bet you don’t always start at the very beginning. There are times when you just want to reconnect with a particular character or relive some bit of action, so you open it up to that place (you know the place: you may not be able to quote the exact page number, but you know by feel when you’re in the right place; your eyes even look at the right spot on the right page).

Guess what? You can’t do that with an ebook. You can open it to the last place you read or to a bookmark, but there is no opening it up in a semi-random place in the middle and starting in on it.

Enter the titled chapter and the table of contents. You can go to the table of contents in your ebook and you can follow the hyperlink to the start of a chapter. But do you need Chapter 15 or Chapter 20?

I know my book so well that I can almost always find any bit of dialog I want simply by looking at the title of the chapter and following the link. The name of the chapter applies to the major theme/scene that happens in it, and I know which conversations took place in which scenes.

I was thinking about not using chapter titles in The Flames of Prague (although they exist right now for my convenience), but now I think I am going to go ahead and use them. With 99.5% my sales coming from ebooks—a trend that is sure to continue—I think it’s best to plan for the ebook. (I could leave them out of the printed copy, but why?)


I am totally ripping off… erm… I mean, I am totally inspired by Michelle Proulx’s Unrelated Image of the Day, so here’s a non-sequitur image:

How We Rolled

While sitting in the park today, I noticed that the playground was oddly full of parents. And I don’t mean parents around the playground. I mean right there in the gravel, pushing swings and spinning carousels, like those big kids of theirs weren’t capable of 1) doing it for themselves, 2) doing it for each other in a little thing known as unscripted peer-to-peer interaction.

In my day, parents knew their place was on the other side of the rail, and they stayed there unless there was an accident involving blood and screaming.

10 comments on “Name that Chapter?

  1. First of all, epic spelling of my name 😀

    Secondly, I really do like the idea of chapter titles — and you’re right, they really help navigation in ebooks. I wish I’d thought of that before my mother convinced me to take them out from Imminent Danger, lol. Of course, the problem with those titles was that they totally gave away what was going to happen next. Clearly I need to learn to be more cryptic with my titles.

    • Well geez Michelle, you don’t title the chapter “Eris gets kidnapped”! (Although honestly, if you threw darts at the chapters you have probably a 50% chance of hitting one in which she gets kidnapped…)

      • Hahaha right? Well, I mean, that IS the plot of the book, so it makes sense that it happens a lot … 😀 Oh, and you’ll be pleased to know I worked in two more abductions whilst revising the sequel. Huzzah!

      • Is that more in addition to the first book, or more in addition to however many times she was ALREADY getting kidnapped in the sequel? In which case, this girl has got to get the tattoo saying ‘Kidnap Me!’ off of her forehead…

      • I’ll never tell!!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

        And yes, she does need that tattoo. Or maybe she just needs to learn some self-defence so she stops getting abducted all the time. Sheesh.

      • YEAH. Even Daphne finally broke down and learned some martial arts after being tired of getting kidnapped on Scooby Doo. 😛

      • Keri Peardon says:

        I’ll give ya’ll a teaser: I’m planning on having Micah give Kalyn a gun for Christmas. He’s going to have a laugh about it, though. He’s going to get her a pink Kel-Tec 9mm and, just to take it up one notch (because Micah can’t leave well enough alone), he’s going to put a Hello Kitty decal on the grip.

        Kalyn won’t be kidnapped again (or at least won’t stay kidnapped). She’s just going to open up a can of good ole Tennessee whoop ass. And maybe with a pink Hello Kitty handgun. LOL

      • There you go! I laughed because they were selling Hello Kitty mace cans @ a kiosk at the mall. But…I wanted one. 😛 Why can’t I kick but AND be cute?

      • Keri Peardon says:

        They really do make pink Kel-Tecs (mine is gray, though; I have my dignity!). I got the Hello Kitty idea, though, from a picture someone shared on Facebook of a pink semi-automatic rifle with a Hello Kitty on it.

        Of course, we’ll have to see if the scene passes my husband’s editing. He’s my gun/tactics editor, and that may curl his hair too much. LOL

    • Keri Peardon says:

      Doh! I hate it when I mess up people’s names. I blame dial-up internet. If it wasn’t so damn slow, I could have taken the time to look it up and make sure before I posted. (Everything is dial-up internet’s fault.)

      Or maybe I should claim that’s the medieval spelling. They were always adding extra letters, being more or less phonetic.

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