Tip Share, Writing and Me

Crafting Chapter Titles


Chapters don’t always need titles, but when they do, they can be tricky to craft. My first books, EVO Nation and EVO Shift, are sci-fi and urban fantasy novels and chapter titles didn’t match the tone of the books. However, my fantasy novel, Thrown to The Blue, is split into different POVs, and each chapter is defined by the character’s name and a title. I’ve never had to craft chapter titles before, and it has been a great writing experience for me.

Here are the top five lessons I have learnt as a first time chapter titler.

Write the chapter before you title it.

You can have an idea for the title, but after writing the chapter it may not exactly fit, and you don’t want to have to tailor the chapter to the title. Once you have read the chapter, you can capture the overall tone/ message. You may even find a phrase or quote from within the chapter that works.

Not every chapter title needs to follow the same style.

I noticed this a lot in books I have read of late. The titles follow a style of some sort- perhaps just three words: For example: Sugar and Spice, Gold and Silver, Hurt and Betrayal. If this works for your novel, then roll with it, but please don’t think this is a necessity. You can have some short and sweet titles, quotes, one word titles. As long as the title sums up the chapter, then I don’t think it affects the experience of the reader if the styles are different.

If you can’t think of a suitable chapter title, leave it, and return to it later.

Sometimes a title is glaringly obvious, other times it eludes us. Do not force a chapter title, let it simmer for a bit before setting it in stone. It may even be worth not titling your chapters until your final edit. You can read through the draft with fresh eyes and the titles may jump out at you.

Sum up, but do not give too much away.

This is where it can be particularly tricky to find a suitable title. Summing up the chapter doesn’t mean highlighting the key narrative point in the title. For example: If Freddie is going to die in this chapter, it is best not to title the chapter ‘Freddie’s Demise’ or ‘The Death of Freddie’. This may seem like common sense, but I have seen it done. The impact you may try to make with a certain scene will be dulled by the reader’s knowledge from the title. Finding the balance between summing up and keeping it vague is what I found difficult.

Think outside the box.

This ties in with all the above tips. Forget what you have read in other books. Your titles should be unique to your novel. Just because particular titles or styles worked for another book, chances are they won’t work for yours too. Forget about your preconceptions on titling chapters and work with what you have written within each chapter. It is the best way to craft memorable, interesting titles that are true to your novel.

Content belongs to KJ.Chapman






EVO Shift

EVO Shift Editing Update #4

giphynervesThe advanced reader copies have been sent to their patient recipients. Thank you to those of you who are reading and reviewing EVO Shift as I type this. That sentence strikes fear into the heart of me… please like my baby. It really has been a labour of love.

Stage #3 went as well as could be hoped for. My proof-reader delivered her amendment recommendations and I have straightened everything out. No doubt some have seeped through the cracks, but hey ho, I’m ready to go!

Now, I am cracking on with stage #4- formatting. This is important because self-published ebooks need certain formatting specs, so they translate to all devices properly. I like hyperlinked chapters when reading ebooks, so I shall be spending tonight doing exactly that.

This is the final excerpt that I will share with you before the release of EVO Shift:

One hour turns to two and Bo hasn’t spoken a word for the entire journey. I fidget in my seat, much to Cooper’s annoyance. We lost sight of Leoni and Kesh’s van about an hour ago. Clearly their driver isn’t such a wet blanket as ours. Jesus, just being in the presence of these people makes me mean. I’m sure it’s an illness. Or there is the alternative- this shit is rubbing off on me.

All written works are the property of K.J.Chapman


EVO Shift, Writing and Me

EVO Shift Editing Update #3

giphyphewIt has been three days of hard slogging, but the second read through has been a success. The changes made in stage #1 of editing flow well and tie up all the loose ends. I am more than a little relieved. There was quite a bit of tying off that needed to be done and I kept all apendages crossed that it wouldn’t affect the narrative in an adverse way, but I’m happy to say- phew!

Stage #2 consisted of polishing narrative, and more importantly adding a few scenes to flesh out certain plot points. Those scenes have been added, and edited, and are sitting pretty.

6tag_290116-140120As you can just about see in the picture, I changed the font and colour to give myself a fresh perspective. I went for a red this time, and highlighted with a dark blue. It really helped me see it through new eyes. I would suggest trying this if you edit on screen and find you’re missing mistakes etc.

So, what are my processes for Stage #3?

Stage #3 is… yep, you guessed it, the third read through. This read through is to catch anything I may have missed. I have already sent a copy to my friend/ proof reader for any glaring mistakes that they may see.

Again, I will change the font and colour. I will reiterate how well this works for me. Once I am happy with stage #3 and have feedback from my proof-reader, then I will send out my advanced reader copies. This shouldn’t be long at all.

Stage #4= formatting. This is tedious, and time consuming, and makes me go cross-eyed, but it is a necessity for ebooks. I will go into this in a little more detail once Stage #3 is completed.

I shall leave you with another excerpt because I’m in a sharing mood:

The tantrum was fruitless. It did nothing other than tire me, and leave my knuckles swollen and split. I pace. It’s all I can do to stop me going insane. I’ve run over every possible escape scenario, but I can’t pull anything off with the cuff on my wrist. I scream in frustration as I move from the window to the door from the window to the door.

GIF sourced from GIPHY.COM

Image & written works are the property of K.J.Chapman



EVO Shift, Writing and Me

EVO Shift Editing Update #2

The changes have been made.

As you can see from the picture, I not only have a love of highlighters, but I have also worked my way through my whole list of notes and amendments.

6tag_290116-123131It was quite a feat. It was only when I made it through half the notes that I finally started to feel confident that I was heading in the right direction. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

So, what is in store for stage #2 of editing?

I have approximately three chapters/ scenes to add. The story flows, but I feel these scenes will flesh certain areas out a little bit. Once, the chapters are added, I will go back through my processes in stage #1 again to highlight anything I need to amend in the new writing.

Then, I will be ready for the second read through. I change the font style and colour for the second read through as this helps me see it in a fresh way. This genuinely works, or at least it does for my brain. I always pick up things I have missed when I get to this read through. I will pick a different colour from stage #1, but yep, I do highlight anything I’m still not happy with. I usually don’t need to make notes during this stage. It’s more of a narrative polish-up than anything else.

I will post another up-date when I have completed stage #2, but for now, here is another excerpt:

Cooper has spent the entire day working out. At one point he asked Bo to count his crunches, but she told him to do it himself in not as many words. I know why he is doing it, I want to be occupied myself, but there is nothing for me to do other than pace.

“I need to lift,” Cooper says, panting. He looks to me, but I turn my back on him and continue pacing. Then, he looks to Bo.

“Lift this,” she says, flipping him the bird. “Will you quit with the strong man routine. We get it- you work out. Now, do us a favour and give it a rest. I’m done with your grunting.”

Cooper spits into the piss bucket and comes to stand beside me at the bars. “And I thought you were bad,” he mutters.

Images and excerpts are the property of K.J.Chapman