Given how much time I’ve spent trying to come up with titles for my books, one would have thought the topic of Chapter Titles would have come up earlier. Oddly enough, I completely forgot about them.
Until today that is.
Because a fair few books avoid having chapter titles, I think my brain somehow pushed them out of existence. Yet now I have to sit down and consider whether I want to include them or not.
Chapter titles do offer a good way to give the reader an idea of what the chapter may be about, a little bit of foreshadowing in a way.
They can also make it easier to remember particular chapters, as names can be much more memorable than numbers. I quite often flick back through books I’ve read to find particular scenes I like, and often it’s a lengthy affair as I can’t remember the exact chapter they’re in, just a rough location. Chapter titles make it easier, as they remind me what exactly the chapter was about and help me recall if the required passage is in there or not.
I’ve quite often seen that instead of chapter titles, books with multiple POVs label each chapter after the character who’s POV it is. Which is great, since you don’t have those confusing couple moments of trying to figure out who’s narrating.
I suppose it’s a lot about presentation too. A confusing chapter title may put off a reader, or draw them in. The same can be said for simple chapter titles. Mere numbers may be boring, yet using Roman numerals may look intimidating.
However, while I say all this, I find that I quite often don’t even notice them, especially if I’m engrossed in a book where I just want to get straight to reading the next chapter. Which makes me wonder just how important they really are.
So, today I found myself staring at my first draft and trying to determine whether or not I ought to include chapter titles, especially since I tend to write metaphorical titles rather than literal ones. Which could get confusing. In the end I relented and put them in, after all, it’s easy enough to get rid of them later on if need be.
Plus, coming up with titles is a lot of fun!