I'm deep into reading a James Patterson / Alex Cross book of some 300 pages. He has separated the plot into -4- parts and -131- chapters. This is of course the print version of the book. I'm not certain if his e-book also does the same. Has any of you tried splitting Parts with numbers? And if so, is it perhaps to accentuate the drama? Thanks. Dee Tezelli, Seattle
I haven't tried it myself, but I've seen it done quite successfully a few times, on at least one occasion to change the POV. It made me sit up and concentrate harder for a little while afterwards, while I got used to the change, but I didn't mind at all as I was enjoying the book.
I've sort of done this. The action in my latest book takes part in several different locations. Instead of saying something like... "meanwhile, back at the ranch", I put a main heading for each of the places & then listed the chapters relevant to that place after that & wrote quite a bit about what was going in in that particular location before returning to another.
I made the place headings "Heading 1" and all the chapter headings "Heading 2", then when I came to making the TOC, simply adjusted the bit where it says "show levels" to 2. Worked like a charm. I've also done the same thing in another book & it was fine as well.
No complaints from readers as yet. One book has only been out a couple of weeks, but the other one has been available for over a year & has sold some. I'm sure if any reader had been upset/offended/generally narked or in a bad mood about it, they'd have let me know by now.
I hope that all makes sense to you.
Good luck with your book & all the best to you... Helen G
Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive) does this if you want to check out an actual example (assuming you are asking what I think you are).
The TOC looks like:
Part One: Above Silence
2: HONOR IS DEAD
Part Two: The Illuminating Storms
13: TEN HEARTBEATS
The separator page for Part One appears in between chapters and looks like:
KALADIN * SHALLAN
All the text is centered on the page and there is a watermark image of a sword on the background. The names at the bottom are the main characters in this part of the story.
The parts are used to separate distinct sections of a book and are very often used in epic fantasy. In this book's case, each part involves different character story arcs as it builds them up to a point where they collide near the end. The ebook should look just the same as the print version. My example is from the ebook version.
If you have 131 chapters, there's really no point in having chapters at all. I've seen such books -- they're usually thrillers -- and the TOC is just an endless list of numbers. What's the point? Nobody is going to remember that he was on chapter 74 instead of chapter 75. Indeed, I don't see much point in having a TOC at all if there are only chapter numbers (except that Amazon "requires" a TOC). Without memorable titles, a TOC is useless.
If Patterson Incorporated named their PARTS, then I'd figure the book has four chapters.
(Don't trust KDP to publish a print edition. Don't trust CreateSpace to publish an ebook.)
I've seen it in several Russian novels, most recently in Anna Karenina. I think it works better for longer books as a way of breaking the narrative flow from one location to another and best in third person.
Super helpful, All. I'm thinking TOC to show -2- Parts only numbered with Roman numerals with no headings. Underneath listing Chapters with two-word teaser headings. The premise being to deliver a nudge between 'celestial encounter' and (maybe) return to reality. Cheers, Dee Tezelli, Seattle