Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Today's question comes from J.H. in Ms. Jurkowski's third class. J.H. asks: How many pages are you allowed in a chapter book? How can you write a chapter book?

A: Well, J.H., when talking about lengths of books, we usually don't worry about how many chapters a book has, we base it more on the word count. If you are targeting early readers, 1st and 2nd grade, you want to keep your word count pretty low. Once the book has gone through layout, even if your book is only 500 words long (this is about 2 double-spaced, typed pages), you will see that for the proper amount of pages, there can be fewer words per page. We try to stay within our guidelines. Here is a breakdown of word lengths for various books and another one specifically for children's books

You will find that each source varies and that most of the time, the story length is determined by the type of story. My state stories could be considered chapter books for the most part, word count wise, as they are all about 4,000 to 10,000 words. Since I don't divide the story in chapters, they are basically short stories that are illustrated.

You may want to consider this eHow article on writing chapter books for more on deciding if you are going to write a chapter book or not.

As for your second question, how does one write a chapter book, same as other books you are writing. Making chapters in a book is really how the author feels about that book. I covered breaking your book into chapters on an earlier post here which was a question posed by a sixth grader in Utah.

It is very hard to take one aspect of writing any book and say this is the only way to do something. There are many elements involved in writing process that need to be taken into consideration. The main thing is to brainstorm what type of book you want to write, then get the basic story written and worry about chapters and word length during the editing and revising process. Remember that you should always have someone else edit your story (professional, not family or friends) before submitting for publication.

Hope this helps you in deciding if you want to write a chapter book or not. Thanks for the interesting question and allowing me to do what I enjoy best - research. Mrs. E :)

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