Do you use chapter names in your novels?
I admit I have a haphazard way of naming chapters in my rough drafts. Some are named, and some remain unnamed. Why? Well, it has to do with that crazy half plotted, half pantsed writing style I use with my rough drafts. Some chapter names from the plot sheet work, and others just don't, so I end up with a mish mash.
However, while formatting and polishing my book for publication, I've had to make a decision.
To name or not to name?
I liked the chapter names I had, but I couldn't decide. So I went to my favorite books.
The Bible - has book names, but not chapter names . . .although modern Bibles have section headings like: The Faith of the Centurion
The Hobbit - has chapter names, like: An Unexpected Party, and Roast Mutton.
Ender's Game - has chapter names, like: Third. (but no Table of Contents aka ToC)
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - has chapter names, like: Lucy Looks into a Wardrobe
Winnie-the-Pooh - has chapter names, like: In Which We Are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees, and the Stories Begin
Much Ado About Nothing (a play by Shakespeare) - no chapter names, but it's a play that's easily sectioned off into acts and scenes.
Family Favorite Books:
Dragon Slippers - has chapter names, like: The Brown Dragon of Carlieff. (but no ToC)
Open Minds - no chapter names.
Ranger's Apprentice - no chapter names.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - has chapter names, like: The Boy Who Lived
The Mark of Athena (by Rick Riordan) - each chapter names the POV character, no ToC
So, my decision hadn't been made for me since some of my favorites had chapter titles, and some didn't. I had to decide if and why I like chapter titles.
I decided that I do because I like being able to go back into a book and find my favorite parts easily. I re-read my favorites regularly, but sometimes I just want a quick fix of my favorite part from one of my favorite books. If I can find that favorite part through the use of a Table of Contents, and/or chapter names it makes my life easier. True, I can leaf through the book and find the part based on where I know it comes in the story as a whole, but again, if I'm short on time, ToCs and chapter names really help.
I don't know if Champion in the Darkness, book one of the Champion Trilogy, will ever be anyone's favorite book. (I can hope.) But I still decided to go with chapter titles and a fully linked, somewhat long, ebook ToC. I hope that this isn't daunting to readers, but helpful instead.
Besides, it's been fun naming the chapters that were unnamed . . .and I usually don't like naming anything.
So, are you for chapter names or against them? What about fully linked ToCs at the front of ebooks?