I searched for this one and didn't quite got what I needed. I've found that Books have chapters, and then there are mentions of sections, but none seem to be mentioning this in novels, more like academic books.

In Stephen King books I've read, there's always a chapter, then a 1 with a short text, then a 2, short text, and so on, until the chapter ends, another one starts, and it's the same thing.

Are those 1, 2, 3 etc. called Sections? Subchapters? On the same note, why there is no indentation at the beggining of the first paragraph after those? Is the 1 considered to be the actual begining of the first paragraph or something?

(Sometimes there are Parts, then Chapters, then whatever the other one is called)


1 Answer 1


In most cases, novels are divided into chapters and there are no other divisions. A chapter can have only a number, or it might also have a title, as in the case you have presented.

When the word part is used, it typically refers to groups of chapters, and a novel will have only a few parts.

I think I have never seen the word section used within a novel itself, but it is frequently used by people who discuss novels in the way you have described—to identify the parts into which a chapter has been divided. Sections are not always numbered, but they can be. In some cases, they also have a title or a label of some kind.

It is common for the first line of a chapter or a section not to be indented. The choice is usually made by the person who designs the appearance of the book. It is not an editorial decision and follows no standard rule.

  • Wikipedia has articles on chapters and sections which support this.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 14, 2022 at 15:00
  • I have seen novels, bound as single volumes, divided into 'books', with headings starting each section such as 'Book 1', and even (HG Wells and Charles Dickens that I know of) 'Book the First'. It's the author's choice. Jul 14, 2022 at 15:15
  • And I've seen books that while divided into sections (that is with bulleted lines breaking scenes) but no actual chapters. The particular case I'm thinking of did mark these sections with date headings, but there was no table of contents at the beginning of the book telling you what page any particular section began on. And the author had added a note saying it was a deliberate choice. Jul 14, 2022 at 15:38

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