Little known fact about me as a reader: I LOVE short chapters.
When I start a chapter, I often (ahem, always) find myself flipping forward, scanning to see how long the chapter is. If it’s short, I am much more motivated to keep reading with interest. Long chapters bog me down. Ever since my third grade teacher read Sideways Stories from Wayside School aloud, each chapter just a handful of punchy, memorable pages, I’ve been a short chapter fan. I like to see the story move. I like to see progress.
By contrast, many chapters in my life tend to be on the long side. I’m a slow thinker, a slow decision maker. Not many cliffhangers. Relatively few unexpected turns. Pretty predictable. Not really the stuff of a best seller.
Every once in a while, though, life takes a truly unexpected turn. Things that I thought were fated or immovable turn out to be flexible. Something that was maybe just a glimmer on a far off horizon explodes into the sky at staggering speed. An opportunity brought into my story by one of its most adventurous characters. A plot twist even I didn’t see coming.
And, in a surprising move, instead of watching the story fly by, this time I actually grabbed onto the streaking star and decided to ride along. Instead of watching stories happen for others, I jumped in, embraced the promising unknown, and decided to start a chapter that is entirely new. For many, it will be a jaw dropper, a head scratcher, even a whisper-behind-the-back moment. Let them watch, confusion to amazement.
Sunsets and sunrises somewhere different. Dramatic changes in just a handful of punchy, memorable pages.
A short chapter, yes. A beautiful, breathtaking plot twist in a long, long story.