For those of us who are readers, there have been some obvious shifts in the tenancies of old school writers and those that all the best selling authors of today.
One of the most noticeable and potentially impacting is the relatively new approach to the anatomy of chapters within novels.
As an author of poetry books, much of my interest lies in literature by writers who have been dead for several hundred years. And in reading novels from ages gone by, the style generally involved long chapters that where fairly few in number.
In more modern writing, perhaps really taking hold a few decades ago, novelists began to emphasize shorter chapters, some even as minimal as one page, and dozens of chapters in a single book. I have read books with more that 100 chapters.
Why the change?
I don’t know who can really answer that question wtih certainty. But here’s my theory. In today’s world, we have many more vehicles to stimulate our minds and there is no secret that our attention spans have changed. Perhaps the shorter chapters keep is intrigued for a longer period of time. I know that they often tend to make us feel like we are making greater progress within a book and this encourages us to keep going.
Whatever the reason is, this simple change seems to be having big results.