James Patterson is a prolific author having written nearly 150 novels. In fact, he holds The New York Times record for the most #1 New York Times best sellers by a single author, a total of 67, which is also a Guinness World Record.
He is both admired and reviled in the industry. But the reason I am referencing him today is because he writes notoriously short chapters. An “average” chapter length in fiction is about 3,000 to 4,000 words. Patterson chapters are approximately 650 words. Two to three published pages.
Personally, I’m a fan of short chapters. When reading and writing. I enjoy the sense of accomplishment in completing something in a brief amount of time. I believe short chapters fit into our immediate gratification focused lives. The whole text/tweet/message mentality.
Last week I wrote about Metaphors and how Maass had said anything could be one. It occurred to me that a Patterson Chapter might make a good metaphor. His chapters are fast, easy, usually satisfying, and leave you wanting more. Remind you of anything? 😉
On the contrary, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, also a best selling and award-winning author, has chapters that run about 65 pages. Long, drawn out, potentially painful, occasionally complicated, sometimes absolutely unbelievable. Again, I ask, remind you of anything?
I think a Patterson Chapter would make a good metaphor for a single scoop ice cream sundae. What did you think I meant? And a Goldfinch Chapter could be aptly applied to 2020.
Sticking with my interpretations, how would you apply a Patterson Chapter as a metaphor? A Goldfinch Chapter? Have fun with it. Post your answers in the comments.
Please don’t think I’m comparing authors, styles, or genres. This is purely about chapter length and potential metaphors. I’ve read my share of bad Patterson, but I read it quickly! And, although I did not care for The Goldfinch overall, 2020 is MUCH worse. Honestly, I’ve never read a book I’ve disliked as much as I dislike this year.