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When young readers between the ages of 7 and 10 want to read a more challenging story, but not too challenging a story, they turn to chapter books. Chapter books offer longer, interesting stories on almost any subject.

When writing chapter books, authors don't have to concern themselves with large format for children just learning to read. Children that read chapter books have been reading for some time. These books are illustrated, but they don't depend on pictures to get the reader to read. Chapter books are usually about forty pages long in a manuscript, but are broken up into many short chapters so that a child can perhaps read one chapter at a time.

Plots for these stories are not complicated, there is a small cast of characters, and all the action takes place within a short time span. The whole story usually revolves around a single idea or situation and the story builds around that idea with plenty of action and suspense.

In spite of their short length, these books do not shy away from intense relationships or strong emotions. But there is not as much character development as in longer books.

Your characterization must be good. Your story structure must be sound. Your dialogue must be smooth and natural. Settings must be believable, yet not overdone.


1. Stories are a step up from easy readers-the subject should be something the reader and the hero or heroine really care about.

2. Keep it short-a manuscript should run on the average about forty pages.

3. Break it up-divide the story into many short chapters, so that the reader can feel accomplishment with each chapter read.

4. A story should revolve around a single idea or situation based on everyday experience.

5. There should be plenty of action and suspense.

6. Strong emotions or intense relationships are okay for the age group.

Look at several chapter books before you begin to write. Some good ones are listed below:

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl