What’s in a good book?

Young naked Man and woman in love are kissingby Maria Piork

I’ve asked myself this question many times before. After all as a novelist my main goal is to write a good book. But what, in particular, makes a good book?

The answer to this question is really open to interpretation. What you and I regard good and what other readers may regard good will differ considerably. There are, however, universal characteristics to a good book regardless of genre. After doing a little bit of research online a handful of common denominators surfaced, see the top three below.

An interesting voice.

An interesting voice is critical; it’s what carries the reader through the story. Personally, if I don’t connect with the voice in the first one third of the story (and yes, I measure this by word count), I’m likely to put the book down.

Memorable characters.

Memorable characters make us laugh, cry, gasp and flinch. Well developed characters can ‘stay’ with us long after we finish the book. In fact, I have plowed my way through a book even when I thought the plot was silly simply because I liked the characters.

A gripping story.

This particular element is perhaps the most subjective—what I consider a gripping story may not be gripping to someone else. Either way, if the storyline is compelling the reader will continue to flip pages just to see how it all unravels.

Well, there you have it. Now, let me get back to my own book and sharpen my storyline. I, too, want to sell a pager turner, some day 🙂


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