The Pros and Cons of Titling Your Chapters

Chapter titles! When I was a kid, I loved reading chapter titles. I also loved putting them in my own stories–but my chapter titles were garbage! 😛

Some people love chapter titles, others hate them! So today I thought it would be a fun idea for a blog post to weigh the pros and cons of titling the chapters of your novel!

Let’s get right into it!

PRO: Draws Readers In

When a reader finishes a chapter, their eyes immediately move toward the next chapter, to determine whether they want to read another chapter or not. If there’s a chapter title on the next page that’s gripping, or mysterious, or flawlessly written, it may be what a reader needs to be drawn back into the story and keep reading! Drawing readers in is very important to keep them reading a story, and so this is a wonderful pro!

CON: Extra Work

The amount of work it takes to come up with a quality chapter title may or may not be worth it, depending on the writer. Sometimes it can take only a few seconds to come up with a great one, other times it may take a long period of time of thinking and consideration. But whether or not it’s easy, it’s always extra work, alongside actually writing the novel.

PRO: Adds Mystery and Intrigue

Nothing like a little mystery, a slight hint at what’s going to happen next in the story to make a reader excited and anxious to know more! Perhaps you put a snippet of an old legend or poem alongside your chapter title as well–that’s always something that might cause someone to want to know what happens next.

CON: Gives Things Away

Now, the majority of quality chapter titles may not do this, but even some of the best titles give away exactly what happens in the chapter. And even if it doesn’t, it probably gives the reader a good idea of what’s going to happen. So you have to be incredibly careful not to spoil anything with your chapter titles!

PRO: Allows more Creativity

With chapter titles you can do anything–a single word, a saying, a sentence, or like I said previously, even the snippet of an old legend or poem! This is such a fun thing to do, and the creativity that goes into chapter titles is very cool!

CON: Redundant Titles

If you have a novel that’s several chapters, you may start falling into a rhythm of the same kind of chapter title, or one that sounds very similar to a previous one. You have to be really careful you don’t write redundant chapter titles! If you do, it might be better off not even having them.

After everything, it is always, of course, up to personal preference whether you have chapter titles in your novel or not. I enjoy writing chapter titles for some of my novels, but for others I don’t feel like they need it, and so I leave them out.

Again, it’s all up to opinion, the type of story you’re telling and what you want to do. But I hope this pros and cons list helps you think through whether or not you want to put in the work of writing quality chapter titles for your novel.

And there we have it, folks! The pros and cons list of titling your chapters!

Do you personally title your chapters? Do you not? Let me know your thoughts on this subject in the comments below! And that’s it, my friend!

Until later,

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3 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Titling Your Chapters

  1. When I write chapter titles, they end up being stupidly dramatic! Since I’m not writing fiction with the hope of being a famous fiction author, I don’t worry too much about it! 😆 But these are good points – I always love the subheadings below chapter titles with quotes from poems, jokes, sayings of famous people, or just a couple notes on what’s happened or going to happen (the last one, with nonfiction.) I agree – spoiler chapter titles are the worst! XD
    Great post, Caleb! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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