One of the classic divisions that can be made about the parts that make up a novel is that of chapters and scenes. These are secondary components at the structural level, into which it is possible to subdivide the great structure of any work of art, which is always composed of the canonical scheme of beginning, development, and outcome.
I’m sure you already have most of this information in your head (you read dozens of guides, paper help reviews, and other helpful materials), but it may still be unclear. This is why I want to help you bring some order to your knowledge of literary theory.
Only in this way, when you sit down to write, will you be free of doubts and have a clearer head to dedicate yourself exclusively to your creation.
Table of contents
1 Distinguishing chapters from scenes
2 Chapters and their structure
3 Beginning, body and end
3.1 The beginning of chapters
3.2 How they develop
3.3 The point and end that closes them
4 Other resources to write your chapters
Distinguishing chapters from scenes
You may be wondering how to distinguish a chapter from a scene. It is quite simple since chapters are clearly identified within a work by being restricted by their reference number or by a specific headline.
In conjunction with other literary elements we have seen on the blog over the years, scenes form the chapters that in turn form the novel. They are usually less clearly differentiated, but you will be able to distinguish them by paying attention to the details presented in them. The arrival of new characters, a change of place or perspective usually marks each new scene.
Now that you know how to distinguish between one and the other, we can focus on the larger elements that divide the novel into several sections: the chapters.
Chapters and their structure
Like a novel, each chapter also has its literary structure. Thus, the same logic applies to the chapters and the rest of the work of art.
In fact, each chapter has its narrative arc that implies the presence of a beginning, a development, and an end, along with the use of other resources. This is important because when you analyze your own work, you will be able to be a more objective critic of what is missing or missing in your work.
In the chapters, we can also observe how the characters have to face small obstacles, conflicts, and situations that allow us to advance in the plot and the characters to evolve along it.
Beginning, body, and end
Therefore, the beginning, the development, and the denouement are essential part of the macrocosm of the novel. Still, they are also an essential part of the microcosm of the chapter. The question now is: how do you develop these sections in a timely manner within the branches of your novel?
The beginning in the chapters
When starting your chapters, the keyword will be coherence. Maintaining congruence between one chapter and the previous one is something you can’t go wrong with. You must imagine a common thread that flows from one chapter to the next to prevent your reader from feeling displaced.
As in the butterfly effect, remember that every event in a previous chapter affects one of the subsequent chapters. If you maintain this line by introducing the situation, your characters find themselves in at the beginning of each chapter. You’ll be on the right track.
How they develop
Only some things can be stagnant in the introduction of the chapter. That’s why it will evolve, giving life to the body of the chapter.
You will only make it interesting if you introduce one or more small obstacles that intertwine with the novel’s main conflict.
The best method is to divide the main conflict of your novel into many sub-conflicts that you can use over several chapters. All this without forgetting to keep moving forward in the general plot of your story.
Remember that a novel is not a separate accumulation of elements but that each constituent part is connected to the others, and together, they form the novel as a whole.
The ending that brings them to a close
In the same way that the conflict of a novel requires closure at the end of the work, some of the obstacles that have been created in the development of the chapter must find their solution as we approach the end.
Your characters will be put in motion throughout the development to find solutions to the conflicts that arise, this will give movement to work keeping it interesting.
The important thing is that the character of your work is at a different point from the beginning of the chapter and that he/she begins to move toward what you want to introduce in the next chapter. This is essential since this way, you will make the reader curious to know how the adventures and events of your protagonist’s life continue.
Other resources for writing your chapters
Just as you would apply them to a complete novel, you can add certain literary elements to some of your chapters. Such as a climax, which I’ve already told you about in this article, as well as strong goals that give your characters the strength to continue in their exploits throughout the entire work.
It may seem like a lot of work to organize the chapters in this way, and the truth is that it is.
I never said that organizing and writing a novel was an easy task. On the contrary, it requires passion, determination, study and perseverance. But if you have decided to become a writer, I am sure that you will do it with enthusiasm, regardless of the difficulties that may arise during your writing process.
Don’t forget that all great goals in life require time, patience, and experience. And if being a writer is one of them for you, the important thing is that you keep trying every day, because you will learn something new that will make you evolve and improve as an author.
I like to think that we are also characters in a novel, with our own obstacles, goals and conflicts. So, overcome them and reach your happy ending!