Novels have chapters for the exact same reason that potato chips were invented.
As human beings we face an awful lot of stimulation. Existence will throw typhoons and bankruptcy and plague and global warming – without even pausing to wipe the sweat from it’s all-seeing eye.
Catastrophe will rain down upon you with the intensity of a jackhammer game of whack-a-mole.
Chapters – like potato chips – help us break down something wonderful – into comfortable bite-sized pieces.
It happened something like this.
Leo Tolstoy – (known as Leo the Lion to all of his peeps) – sat down one morning and decided to write the entire Napoleonic invasion of Russia detailing the impact of Bonaparte’s era on Tsarist society. Only problem was – the man was a little short on money – so, to conserve his supply of scribbling paper (look, they hadn’t invented the keyboard yet) – he wrote the whole thing out without a single break.
It was an intensive experience.
He went through two marriages, six bankruptcies, one typhoon, and a bout of stuck-burp – (you know – when you’ve got a burp stuck halfway between your stomach and your belly button and it won’t let out?) – while he wrote this epic hernia of a novel.
“Leo,” his editor said. “Have you ever heard of something called a chapter?”
“Ach!” Leo said, on account of he had mysteriously developed a German accent while writing the Prussian parts of his novel. “Why didn’t I think of that.”
“Try a few of these potato chips,” Leo’s editor said. “They go awesome with beer.”
So you see – chapters were invented so that men could drink beer.
Yours in storytelling,