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Can short stories have chapters?

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Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:40 pm
ziggiefred says...

I was wondering whether or not short stories can have chapters. I've tried googling the matter but I can't get a clear answer. So let's say I'm required to write a 10000 word short story, can I break it into chapters? If not, how do I break it up?

Thanks for the help :)
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Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:51 pm
kjr5horses says...

You have a short story. And no if you split it into chapters then it is a novel (Yes maybe a short novel but a novel nonetheless) You just have a longer short story,short stories DO NOT have chapters, if you look in a (for example) Edgar Allen Poe's short stories and poems his short stories (Yes some are quite long) but they are NOT broken up into chapters! Because they are short stories NOT novels .

So no, don't break it up,
if you
have to
then use
something like this
or this
or this "~"~"~"

Just saying.

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Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:04 pm
SmylinG says...

Hey, Ziggie. :) I think the answer to your question is no, there are no chapters when it comes to writing short stories. However, I feel breaking it up into parts is more acceptable. I see many users doing that and it seems to work out smoothly in most cases, if you're looking to break up your story into two or three more digestable pieces. If your work is leaning more lengthy toward chapters then you would probably have yourself a novel of course. ;)

I hope this helps answer your question!

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Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:04 am
Rosendorn says...

The reason you're probably not getting a clear answer is "parts" and "chapters" are different. A short story can indeed be broken into parts, and if you plan on posting it on YWS putting it in parts his highly recommended for readability.

Just mark the parts with either "part [number]" or use one of the suggestions Kjr provided in her post. I'm more in favour of the former, since I break up scenes using stuff like ~ in both novels and short stories.
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Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:13 am
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Kyllorac says...

Short stories generally are broken up into scenes. In a longer work, a single scene could be a single chapter, but short stories are too short to have chapters. The simple reason is that chapters are breaks to make reading a long work more manageable. The end of a chapter is basically a signal to your reader that "Here is a good place to stop and take a break if you need to." On the other hand, you can usually read a short story in one sitting, so things like chapters aren't really necessary.
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Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:41 am
Nate says...

Of course short stories can have chapters. Just like you can have a novel with no chapters at all.

The only distinction between short stories, novellas, and novels is length. Whether you end up calling your chapters as parts or scenes, it's the exact same thing. Just call it whatever you want to call it, and choose whichever form you think is best for your work.

And to be very clear, there is no such thing as a novel less than 50,000 words. If your short story is split up into chapters, that does not make it a short novel. It makes it a short story with chapters.

Besides, at 10,000 words, some would say your short story is really a novella anyhow.
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Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:52 am
Snoink says...

I read a short story by Tolstoy that was divided into chapters! Well... actually, probably it would be called a novella in this day and age, but they considered it a short story in his time.

Anyway, the point is, yes, you can. If the great writer Tolstoy can do it, by gum, you can do it too!
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Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:31 pm
fading-dream says...

Why not? Isn't a novel just a bunch of short stories anyway? The difference is that in a novel, people already know some info from short to short.
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Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:55 pm
ziggiefred says...

Uhu! So it doesn't really matter then. Got it! I can use part or chapter or these (-----).
Okey dokey :)
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