Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Fundamentals of a Good Book

Having read a lot of books in my time, I have recently been thinking about what it is that makes a good book. There are so many factors that come into play, that a writer has to concoct the perfect mixture between great characterisation, a convincing, interesting plot and a pace that will explain everything, but keep things moving a long, so that the reader doesn't get bored.

In my opinion, character structure is a vital ingredient for a good book. If a character isn't convincing or if I can't connect with them in any way, then I don't bother reading the novel. After all, if you can't believe in the characters, then who cares what happens to them?

I have been trying to write my 1st novel for about 4-5 years now (and I'm still not finished!) and I hadn't realised just how difficult it was, to get the combination right. Previously, I had written short stories and poems, but I had never really embarked on writing a 'proper' full length novel and I must say, that it's hard work.

You have to be very focused, self disciplined and have the belief that you can finish your novel, even if at times, it doesn't feel like it. All of these things, I've started to get into a groove with, in the effort of getting the words down on the page. Also I'm trying to combine all of the things I have mentioned before in my novel, but it is a lot harder than it seems.

What do you think makes a good novel? Is it strong character structure? Great plot? Balanced pace? Or all of these things?


  1. I believe that it can be any of these, but it must fulfil its purpose - communicate with the readership. This will differ depending on the novel.
    For my own work (for children) slightly 'whacky' and 'fun' but with more than one layer of comprehension is my approach. Children will decide whether or not I have it right.
    Here's hoping!

  2. I guess that rather than being "all" it could be "any" - certain books need different attributes in order to be successful. I think that the most important thing is a distinctive narrative voice.

    Interesting post - thank you for musing, you have got me thinking!