I read a lot. Like, seriously, people don’t believe them when I tell them how much I read. One thing I often notice about books, especially eBooks, is a lack of chapter titles. Actually, that’s not exactly true. Every once in a while I notice a novel with spectacular chapter titles and I realize hardly any other books I read have them. Why’s that, I wonder. I find chapter titles extremely important and here’s why:
Pull readers in. Chapter titles can be a great way to pull readers in and maybe even get a reader to buy your book. I download tons of samples on my Kindle everyday. Unfortunately, these samples are often just too short for me to make up my mind about buying the book. If the chapter titles intrigue me, that’s just one more tick in the plus column towards making the purchase. And once a reader has bought the book, the chapter titles can keep the good times rolling. I really got to thinking about chapter titles when I started writing chick lit. The books are fun and quirky. And I tried to keep that idea going with quirky chapter titles. For example, in Murder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem, I used songs as chapter titles. The song functioned as a bit of quirky foreshadowing.
Clarify time, place and/or POV. My first novel, Unforeseen Consequences, is told from the perspective of four female protagonists. It also jumps around from present day to different time periods in the past. I actually started using the chapter titles to help orientate myself while writing. One of my beta readers mentioned that she found it difficult to keep up with the who, what, where of the novel and I decided to leave my chapter titles in the published novel to give readers a helping hand.
Finding Focus. I discovered an interesting article on chapter titles while doing a bit of research for this blog article; 3 Secret Functions of Your Book’s Chapter Titles by Bryan Wiggins. He talks about using chapter titles for finding focus. The titles can, for example, help to build further tension in the story. I haven’t used this method, but I find myself slapping myself upside the head wondering why in the world I haven’t tried it.
So what other types of chapter titles have I done? Here are some examples:
- I used short character quotes in Jack Gets His Man. The quotes were taken out of context to throw readers a bit off balance and to get them to keep reading.
- In Molly’s Misadventures, I had Molly write Facebook updates as the chapter title. I had a ball writing those updates.
- In my current novel, I’m using funny motivational sayings about dieting and exercise. My favorite so far is My Diet Plan: Make all of my friends cupcakes: the fatter they get, the thinner I look…
What fun chapter titles have you read or used in the past?