EVERYONE Has Read This but Me - The Catch-Up Book Club discussion

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SOLICITATIONS > Discussion Topic : What makes a good fiction novel?

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Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 985 comments Originality. No more sparkly vampires for at least 10 years. Or spunky seniors (a la' Fredrik Backman) for 15.

Sincerity. Write because you have something you passionately want to share with the world, not because you think being a writer is cool or a way to make a buck in your spare time.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Main Character(s) that I care about. They don't have to be likeable, at least not all the time, but they have to be relatable and I have to care about what happens to them.

An engaging plot with some interesting twists. Too many books read like they were written using a template.


message 3: by Cheryl is busier irl atm. (last edited Dec 28, 2017 08:58AM) (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 985 comments Characters as you say, yes. Also:

Craft. Get a real editor (not to mention proofreader) to sort out what *you* want to say into what *your readers* will be able to appreciate. If you want an avant-garde puzzle, make sure that the editor says that the readers will be able to either figure out how the pieces fit or be willing to accept they don't. If you want to stitch your blog together into a memoir, add a lot of story and leave out a lot of episodes.

(The editor does not have to be a paid professional, but s/he should be someone outside your family who reads enough to actually understand craft. Or maybe another writer, so long as you're not close writing buddies. And you must be able to accept constructive criticism.)


message 4: by Candice (new)

Candice (mothsandmammothfigures) | 11 comments I believe that it is a collection of things that makes a good fiction novel. Sometimes it depends on what a specific audience wants i.e. with fan fiction. Sometimes people are willing to forgo great writing in favor of a good plot and believable characters, and, in a lot of ways, that is what audiences nowadays want. Will they be award-winning? Probably not. But will they be best-sellers? Yes, probably more so. Take 50 Shades of Grey (no offense to any fans). That being said, for a novel to truly last, I think craft also ends up being an important factor. You will also probably have difficulty getting published if your novel is not well-crafted. But still, you can be the most eloquent writer in the world and it won't mean jack if you don't have good characterization and plot. It's all about finding balance, although that can prove to be quite hard, I know.


message 5: by James (new)

James Speiker | 9 comments Level or element of 'believabilty'. The location doesn't need to be believable, but the character actions, motivations and development does. Set the rules for the story and stay consistent.

Dues ex machina is fine, for me, but shouldn't be used more that once in story.

I tolerate "Mary Sue" (Gary Stu) characters but there is a limit. Everyone has scars and everyone fails.


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 985 comments To me, a relatable character is one I can believe in. I want to think that I could actually 'meet' him or her, that they're not too good or too evil, too talented or too cowardly... And definitely they must not be iconographic role fillers. For example, if I encounter one more sidekick nerd w/ glasses in a new MG novel I'm gonna scream.

I have to care about the characters, and wish them well. Even the villains. Only in parodies like The Princess Bride is it ok to think a bad guy irredeemable. I have a feeling I'm in the minority here, though.


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Fredrik Backman (other topics)