Friday, July 16, 2010

What Makes a Good Novel?

I love this (from a blog post by Kirby Larson):

What Makes a Good Novel?
by Kirby Larson

  • A “real” character – someone with flaws
  • A reluctant or longing hero (think of India Opal Buloni; Jack in Sea of Trolls)
  • Quirky characters (think Broken for You; Alfred Kropp)
  • A strong voice – sassy, to steal a word from Patty Gauch
  • A sense of optimism and hope
  • Room for me to figure things out for myself
  • A sense of humor
  • Interesting, concrete details – like the knot untying thing in Maniac Magee, or the writing in the wet concrete in Mick Harte Was Here.
  • Snappy, lively dialogue that sounds like real people are talking
  • Books in which people are trying to figure out what it means to be a human being
  • Fresh metaphors and similes that don’t stop my reading but boost it along
  • A sense of adventure, at some level (I’m thinking of Charlotte Doyle, the girl pirate books, etc.)
  • A sense of mystery – either that there’s one to be solved or a story that celebrates the mystery of life
  • Writing that makes me think
  • Writing that explores what’s wrong and what’s right in the world on the page
  • A sense of sacrifice – the m.c. must give something up in order to gain his/her goal.
  • Conversational tone
  • While setting isn’t overly important, I do enjoy knowing the story is set in a specific time and place (Feed; Ida B; Each Little Bird)
  • It doesn’t have to be fast-paced or glitzy but it should show me something new – like Criss-Cross

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this info on what makes a good novel. I took notes!