As long as the chapter needs without feeling bogged down or dragging. Personally, I'm trying to stay under 3000 words just because I don't want them to be too long (when I say 3000, I mean for when I post them here; for example, I've had a few chapters that come in around 3500-4000 words, and I just break them in half at a spot where it feels natural, then post the two halves as a part 1, part 2 deal).
I think the general recommendation is around 2000-3000 words. Some people prefer shorter ones, some people prefer longer ones though.
Upon clicking around I saw some pretty short chapters on some pretty popular stories, which is why I wanted to know.
The advantage of shorter chapters is that you can push out more, allowing you to have more time on the latest update list. (3x1000 word chapters spread out throughout the day vs 1x3000 word chapter = theoretically ~3x longer on the latest updates, so more exposure).
Personally, I do around 1,800 words per chapter. Although rather short, I push out a lot more chapters so it makes up for it. I think the sweet spot is around 2,000 words. Most readers have short attention spans, so 2-4 minutes of reading time is the what you're aiming for.
If you want to push out longer chapters, that's fine too. People like that as well :)
As a writer, I tend to post 2800 to 3000-word chapters here. As a reader, I don't mind short chapters as long as I get a sense of the story moving forward. I do get a bit annoyed though if the characters has not moved at all and are just talking in the same spot from where the last chapter left off though and remain there to the end of the new one. For long chapters, I'm alright with them if they don't get into long periods of background information and there is still a sense of progression.
I think I'm the outlier here since I post 1200 words on average per chapter or 1 scene in its totality. If the scene flows longer, then I can average up to a maximum of 2000 words. With my total words divided by chapter count, I'm sitting at a round 1500 words per chapter.
But I should also mention that I do what JLCohen said, which is to push out 3 chapters spaced out 6 hours every day. Except for today when I posted 6 since I missed one day :/.
This means more exposure to the latest updates page and also makes it easier for me to write... since each scene is self contained and flows into the next. It's like watching a movie with transitions.
But of course, it heavily depends on the readers, and mine have not minded it so far. But I also have a very small fanbase compared to some of the other authors on this site, so :P
I usually try to keep mine between 3k and 5k words in length, unless a particular scene doesn't have a good breaking off point. I suspect a chapter that is coming up to be released might hit that threshold. It's got some long scenes.
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