Thursday 19 March 2020

Breaking Down Your Writing by Melissa Gijsbers #ChaBooCha

Image by by Pexels from Pixabay
Breaking Down Your Writing
by Melissa Gijsbers

Writing a chapter book in a month can seem like a daunting task, no matter what word goal you are aiming for.  It doesn’t matter whether you plan your story before you write or if you just sit down to write, it can still seem like a monumental task.
As someone who has participated in the Chapter Book Challenge since the beginning, I have found that breaking down my manuscript into chapters is one of the best ways to get the writing done.
My usual plan is to write a chapter a day and I set a word count for the chapter based on the sort of book I’m writing. I then have a goal for the number of chapters for the book. If my chapters are shorter, I may write two chapters a day.
Looking at the word counts on publisher’s websites can be a great starting point, however I use that as a rough guide for my first draft as I know that during the rewriting and editing process I will add scenes and descriptions, or take them out, as needed. I also use the number of chapters as a starting point as there are some stories that will need extra chapters.
Your writing plan could look something like this:
  • 10 chapters at 750 words each
  • 20 chapters at 1000 words each
  • 15 chapters at 500 words each
  • 10 chapters at 100 words each (early reader)
As well as looking at the story, I also look at what else is happening during the month so I can plan my writing time to set me up for success in writing my manuscript.
Breaking down your chapter book into smaller, manageable pieces will help set you up to complete your manuscript with some days to spare to add extra chapters or start a rewrite before the end of the month.
The biggest thing to remember is to enjoy your story and enjoy the process of writing your chapter book.

Melissa Gijsbers is an Australian author and booklover. She currently has three chapter books published, all written and edited during the Chapter Book Challenge. She lives in Gippsland in Victoria with her two teenage sons and their pet blue-tongue lizard. You can find her online at



I (Becky) make metal charm bookmarks. The above picture is just one example of one of my bookmarks. Today's give-away is one of these charm bookmarks. It will not necessarily be the same as the one above as I make them from different charms and different bases on a frequent basis. (I also do themed-ones for specific books.)If you are already a signed-up member of the challenge, all you have to do to be entered into the drawing for today's prize is comment on this blog post. 


  1. Hi, Melissa! I would just add that every publisher has their own word and chapter count standard for each age group. Especially easy readers.
    I hope all of you are more focused than I am right now. Stay safe!

  2. Daily small steps do make the month easier to manage - thanks for the reminder and encouragement.

  3. Great post. Melissa! I like the idea of breaking the story down into small manageable pieces. I do that for my middle grade novels but never thought to do it for my chapter books.