I have three manuscripts on the go right now: Hungry Ghosts will hit the ARC stage this week, Umbrella Man is with external readers, and Famine Bay is out with my editor. With three other books published, you’d think I would have figured out how to number chapters. But I didn’t, at least not until recently.
I used to use write out chapter numbers: eg One, Two, Three, etc. Sometimes I’d mis-number a chapter, or miss one altogether. And often, during edits, my editor would suggest I combine two short chapters or break up a long one. Which would require me to go back into the document to identify the beginning of each chapter affected and renumber those and the ones that followed.
Now that doesn’t seem like a lot of work but believe me, when you have rewritten a draft thirty or forty times, it starts to get a little repetitive. So I introduced the word “Chapter” to each heading, which was better because I could keyword search “Chapter” and move from one chapter to the next to do the renumbering, but it still took a fair amount of work to delete the written-out numbers and replace them.
I finally realized that the trick is to use actual numerics: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, etc. If I have to change Chapter 43 to Chapter 44, I only have to change one digit for each chapter and I’m done. Trust me. It’s wayyyy easier.