How Important are Chapter Headings in a Novel?

As some authors choose to dispense with chapters altogether, for them I guess the answer is not very! Other authors merely go for numbering chapters and leave it at that. And with the advent of the e-book, perhaps they are less relevant now as you can’t easily flip back to previous chapters or the list of contents as you would with a traditional paperback.

And yet. Chapter headings can be an art form and add to the beauty of the book. They can help develop a theme and draw the reader through the novel; they can inform, they can summarise, and they can be a platform for showing off ingenuity and creative flair.

A book I read recently used song titles for each of the chapters, but I didn’t immediately spot this; once I had done I was intrigued to discover which song titles had been chosen and what might lie behind the choice. Some were very well known songs, and very fitting for…

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