Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 4, 2011

16 Must Have Elements For a Successful Novel

1.  Precision – absolute clarity in words and ideas.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  The words and ideas were:  Vague and confusing.

2.  Action – at all times.  If you can’t move a mountain, at least move an arm or even an eyebrow.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  The story dragged.

3.  Relevance – make your writing matter to readers.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say : Who cares?

4.  Tales – towering and tiny tales, lots of them and all within the context of the main story.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  These three words:  Blah, blah, blah.

5.  Imagery – more than description, the vivid pictures in readers’ minds.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  I skipped huge sections of description; no need to take note of every hair and freckle of every waiter who brings a glass of water.

6.  Conflict – in all things great and small.   Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  Boring.  I put this book down and couldn’t make myself pick it up again.

7.  Irony – a sense of humor as well as larger thematic irony.   Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  The arrogant writer and catty heroine take themselves too seriously.

8.  Pacing – a feeling that a story moves, varying from the slow to fast at the proper times.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  Snoring.  I pick up this book when I want to get to sleep fast.

9.  Aspiration – or Angels, as in an appeal to the better angels of our nature.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  Everybody in the story is a creep with no redeeming qualities.  For Pete’s sake, I hated everybody, even the hero.

10. Tone – a lyrical or rhythmic feel in the writing.   Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  No poetry; full of clichés.

11.  Ideal – the Reading Ease Ideal, a tool for editing and revision to model best-selling writing.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  The writing is like what you’d find in a term paper or dissertation.

12.  Only two thousand words – a suggestion only to change the subject as often as every two thousand words to keep the interest of readers who are growing up as members of the Twitter-Facebook-texting-random-browsing generation.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  I thought it was plagiarism to copy long passages from an encyclopedia.

13.  Novelty – the sense that this is a new story with something new on every other page.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  Haven’t I read this novel before?

14.  Surprise – that frequent feeling of Oh! Wow! the best-seller always have.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  Predictable.  I had the mystery figured out two hundred pages before the hero.

15.  Questions – as simple as it sounds, simply asking question of readers to get them to play along.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  I never quite got into the story.

16.  Dialogue – and I do mean great dialogue between characters and between characters and readers.  Don’t do that and the Reader will say :  I got tired of the heroine’s sermons.

James V Smith breaks down the complex novel-writing process into a simple, logical 10-step writing process. His approach will guide you in a practical sequence designed to keep yourself focused, organized, and moving forward while skillfully addressing the essentials, such as plot, character, setting, dialogue, and action. Smith also shows you how to generate a saleable idea, develop that idea into a framework, and build that framework into a finished manuscript.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Hi Kathy, interesting post. Now how does one go about getting all the must have elements? You could put each one into its own post. I’d love to read them.

    I’ve never thought about how frequently I change the subject in my novels. I’ll have to check my word count and see if it is around 2,000 words.

    Like

    • Haley,

      I don’t know if my reply went to you, but I think that is a good idea. I just looked at the post and realized that the final formatted post disappeared and an earlier version showed up. I corrected it, so it makes more sense. Hope you take another look. Kathy

      Like

  2. Excellent suggestions, especially during the polishing stages. Knowing what to look for helps keep things clean.

    Terry
    Terry’s Place
    Romance with a Twist–of Mystery

    Like

  3. I love this, so helpful. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂 xox

    Like

  4. Nicely explained . I liked it .i write in marathi .a rregional indian language

    Like


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