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What makes a good novel?

June 10th, 2005 · 5 Comments

Story Engine
Interesting Characters

All of these, something else? Both, I guess.

What story types to you like?
What do you want to read in those stories, or in other words, what do you expect from the genre you are reading?

Those two questions are as equally imporant as anything in that first list.

Conventions in story telling are hard to break and still produce a good story. Sticking to close to conventions leads to a stale, unoriginal, story. It’s tight rope balancing.

Category: CreationRobot · Writing

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gabby // Sep 19, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    Why are novels so important?

  • 2 babyblue // Jan 3, 2007 at 3:19 AM

    i love this boy called sarbjit

  • 3 Jackdaw // Jun 14, 2005 at 12:12 PM

    In an email from a friend:

    “All plots follow the same structure to a varying degree…

    Stasis – the normal day-to-day life of the main character
    Trigger – the event that changes the main character’s life
    Quest – the events that the main character performs to get life back to normal
    Obstacles – what gets in the way of the main character reaching their goal
    The black moment – where the main character has to make a ‘life or death’-type choice
    The twist – speaks for itself
    Resolution – The rewards for the main character

    With that in mind I create a pyramid plot structure – Bottom row of plot blocks are the main story – the second set of blocks are the sub-plots. Each block must bring more peril than the one to the left of it.

    The top three blocks are reserved for the black moment and twist.”

  • 4 Jackdaw // Jun 13, 2005 at 5:01 PM

    You’re right, if you make something over complex it becomes indigestable – just to twist the anology to cooking.

    The knack comes in taking a tradtional story and making it different enough, interesting enough, without being too original or offbeat isn’t easy to grasp.

    Even harder, very few people can ram genres and stories together and come up with anything even half decent. Stephen King did with The Dark Tower, China Meiville did with his city novels.

    Telling the story backwards is a good tip.

  • 5 Melanie // Jun 13, 2005 at 2:36 PM

    The best way, I think, to write a story is to try to take the ‘list’ and try to find loopholes. This is going to sound really silly, but in order to do this, a good way to think about it is how to apply makeup. You should only accent one or sometimes two main features. That is, outline the story, even rough draft the main plot. The writter then needs to figure out a few origional twists or things that could help keeping an audience attentive. Carefully pick these so that they can easily be intertwined….like try telling the story backwards….a twist on progression…. Like makeup, if you work in too many structural creations, you’ll wind up looking like a freak and writting like James Joyce…and nobody will understand a thing you’re saying. I lkie Mary Shelley novels. (It’s Melanie from myspace)

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