How Many Words In A Chapter? [A Word Count Guide] 

Are you writing a book and you’re not sure how long to make each chapter?

How Many Words In A Chapter? [A Word Count Guide]

It is important to make sure each chapter doesn’t feel too long or too short. So, let’s dive into the best length for your chapters. 

It is important to remember that there isn’t a completely perfect amount of words in each chapter.

When you are writing, there is a lot of room for flexibility. It is often important to go with what is working for you. 

A lot of the structure of novels are about the reader’s experience and making their enjoyment as best as you can. 

Does The Length Of Chapter Matter?

Chapter length does have an affect on the story. Let’s have a look at the reasons that the length of a chapter is important. 

  • The pacing of the story is affected by the length of a chapter. Shorter chapters will speed up the pace of the story. Longer chapters will slow down the pace of the story. This is better if you are trying to build up tension in your story. 
  • If your chapters are too short, it can be hard to build up momentum and keep your readers interested in the story and the characters. 
  • With longer chapters, it is important to make sure that your readers don’t get put off and not come back to the story. 

How Many Words Should There Be In A Chapter?

The length of your chapter will vary depending on lots of different things. These include: 

  • The genre of your book. 
  • What stage of the story you are at. 
  • How much information you wish to give in that chapter. 

Before we go into detail about the number of words in a chapter, it is important to note that there are no rules set in stone to state how long your chapter should be. This can be a stylistic choice. 

In some books, a chapter can be a few pages long or even just one page, while in other situations they can be up to 6000 words long. 

What Is The Average Word Count In A Chapter?

As we have mentioned before, you can decide how long you want your chapters to be.

However, the average length of a chapter is usually somewhere between 2000 and 5000 words. 

This also changes due to fashions at the time, at the moment it seems that shorter chapters are used more often.

This is because the books aim to hold onto the attention of their readers. 

If you opt for longer chapters, you have to make sure that you are careful.

Not everyone can get away with chapters that go on for pages and pages and still hold on to the reader’s attention. 

Genre Trends 

Genre does have an impact on the number of words there are in a chapter. 

Romance novels have an average of around 3000 words.

Sci-fi novels tend to have a similar number of words in the chapter.

Thrillers keep their chapter length a lot shorter in order to keep the pace of the novel up.

These are between 600 and 800 words on average. 

Nonfiction books are different again. In this case, the length of each chapter usually depends on what the subject is.

However, there are a couple of things that will help you decide how long your chapters should be.

The preference of the artist will have an effect on the chapter length in this case. Industry standards also come into play here. 

While there are some things that indicate the perfect length of each chapter, it is important to make sure that each chapter covers the material that it needs to. 

What Is The Best Chapter Length For Your Readers?

The way that your book is likely to be read will have a big effect on the length that your chapters should be.

You should consider when and where your readers are most likely to read the novel.

If it is in public transport, then the chapters are better off shorter.

You should consider whether the reader will have time to finish off a chapter before they have to stop reading.

How Many Words In A Chapter? [A Word Count Guide]

For instance, if they are likely to read the book before bed. 

The average adult will read at a rate of 200 words per minute.

This depends on how complicated the sentences are, as well as how they flow.

You should take into account how long it might take your reader to finish a chapter of a certain length. 

The lower end of an average word count for a chapter is 2000 words.

This will take an adult about 10 minutes to read. 

It would take an average of 15 minutes to read 3000 words, 20 minutes to get through 4000 words, and so on.


If the book is nonfiction, then it may take a bit longer to read as it is likely to have more complex language. 

With nonfiction writing, it is important to consider that you don’t need to fill out the sentences too much, instead keeping the words as low as you can. 

You can also choose to add in some subheadings when it comes to nonfiction writing.

This is a good idea because it gives the reader more places to stop so that they can easily jump back into the book. 

Do You Need To Change Your Book Chapter Length Based On This?

After having read this information about how long a chapter should be on average, does this mean that you should now go back and adjust any chapters that you have already written?

When it comes down to it, you want each chapter to be the length that it needs to be to get as much information in as you want to. You definitely don’t want it to be longer than this, though. 

When you are starting the writing process, it is recommended that you just let your creativity flow and don’t worry too much about chapter length.

It is likely that they will fit into the correct length, but if they don’t, you can alter this during the editing process.

What Should A Chapter Include?

While there is no set way that a chapter should run its course, if you are looking for a template of what you could include in your chapter follow these steps: 

Foreshadow What Is Coming

This creates a level of intrigue that will get the reader thinking and guessing what comes next. 

A Summary Of The Chapter

You should summarize the chapter or bring the scene to a resolution in the chapter. 

A Cliffhanger Or Some Suspense

This can be during the chapter or at the end.

A Shift In Point Of View

Final Thoughts 

So, now that you know how many words are in a chapter on average, you can make your decision about how long you want your chapters to be.

While there are some guidelines available on chapter length, it is important to realize that every book is different, and you can be the judge of chapter length if you would rather.

The average length of chapters is something useful to go by if you are stuck, though!

Alan Reiner

Alan Reiner

Hi, my name is Alan Reiner and I have been in the writing industry for almost seven years. I write articles that can span from 200 words all the way to 20,000 words every single day. How do I do it? With a lot of determination. All my way through school and college, I hated long-form assignments. I could never get into the groove of working on one piece for an extended period of time. My pieces were always late because I didn’t have the motivation to type them, let alone edit them.