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Monday, January 7, 2013

What Makes A Novel Great

Hello Readers:

I posted this blog back in July of last year and thought I would repost it again. Enjoy!!

What Makes A Novel Great

I've researched and read hundreds of romance novels since my journey began as a writer. I tried to analyze what I noticed about the stories I've read that either drew me in, or turned me off. I remember one book in particular that stands out in my mind that I had a lot of trouble connecting with. First, I want to say that the author who wrote this book is an excellent writer. I’ve read most of her literary works, and she is outstanding. However, this one story she wrote based on the Greek Spartan Leonitis, did not capture me like I thought it would. I was really excited to read her fictional story based on him. However, after I read about three or four chapters, I put the book down and never finish it. When I analyzed my reasons, I found I had trouble connecting with the protagonist in her story. For some reason, it just didn’t click for me.

Then I stumbled across another author whose first book I read had me absolutely rivited. I couldn't put the damn thing down. She really inspired me, and I connected with her characters immediately. The protagonist in her books had flaws, but not the type of flaws that made him weak or unrelatable. After I read that first book, I worked my way through the rest of this author's novels, and enjoyed every single one of them for different reasons. She had a knack for capturing the emotional elements in her stories perfectly which drew me into the story each time. It’s definitely a gift in my opinion and this particular author possesses it.

So tell me readers what makes a novel great? I read a comment once by a reader that I thought was very interesting. The reader said, “The writer has to bring forth strong emotions in you. You have to leave the book feeling strong feelings about the ending. I’m not talking about where you strongly disliked or liked the ending, I mean you sobbed at the end or felt elated. Or you feel animosity toward one character or another. A great novel also makes you think. It has thought provoking themes in it. Or you need to spend time unraveling the different characters in the books.”

I think an emotional connection is key, especially when writing romance. Without it, your reader will put the book down and probably never pick back up to finish it. We aspire as authors to find that emotional connection and bring it out in our writing.

What are your thoughts on what makes a novel great? I would love to read your comments and feedback on this post.


Erin Simone, Author