Don’t crunch gears between chapters – Read your reader’s mind

by | 14 Jul 2021

… and those are the lessons from chapter 7. (Reader: Wow, interesting!)

(Flip page…)

Welcome to chapter 8, which about something completely unconnected to chapter 7. (Reader: Are there some pages missing in this copy or something?)

It is common to have some crunching of gears when moving from one chapter to another in a book. It can’t be helped. Or can it? You are moving from one big topic to another, so a little disconnection is okay, isn’t it?

There is one way to smooth the way from one chapter to the next:

  • Figure out the question that pops into the head of the reader at the end of chapter 7.
  • Address that question at the start of chapter 8.

If you are finding it hard to do that then it may just be you can’t find the right words, but it might be more fundamental. It may point to a structural problem. Ask yourself:

  • Are the chapters in the right order?
  • Is there a chapter missing?
  • Should a chapter be removed from the book?
  • Is the question the chapter poses the one you thought it would be?

Before you start to write, take your table of contents and add the questions that speed the reader into each of the next sections or chapters.

Every chapter should pose a question. The question can be explicit – you write it out for the reader. Or it can be implicit – you leave it unwritten but the question must be obvious. Every next chapter should address, in some way, that question, even if it doesn’t answer it fully … yet.

Photo by Blaz Photo on Unsplash

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