Friday, 27 July 2012
Should chapters have titles?
The comic novel I'm writing - The UnDead Residents Association - does have chapter titles at the moment. I always liked the idea and it has helped me navigate around the story as I have written it (I think a lot of writers do this - see the NANOWRIMO forum on this) Does it help the reader too?
My titles are relevant to the story: Grave Undertakings, A Spell in the Library, The Stakeout and I even thought I might use bits of relevant local authority jargon as subtitles to the chapter titles ( 'post-preventative measures' 'co-terminus stakeholder agreement' etc)... or maybe just use a bit of that sort of thing as subtitles to the (un-named) three parts the book is also divided into.
There's an interesting view on the subject in the Gotham Writers Workshop which says chapter titles can add layers of meaning, like Quoyle's knots in The Shipping Forecast... kind of what I was going for with the jargon subtitles. And Nathan Blansford's many followers gave titles a general thumbs up too - though it might be different for kids' books.
But I already have 40 chapters, but because I use various points of view, they don't all have a new chapter, just extra spaces with a *** between. Maybe they should all have new chapters? But then there might be too many too reasonably have titles for.
Help!! What do YOU think?