Best Key Elements of ‘a Good Book to Read’
When a potential reader holds a book in their hands, they have a few options for determining whether or not it is worth reading. The front matter of a book (which includes the book title page, the copyright page, and the table of contents) can give a reader an idea of whether the subject matter will be interesting. Others may skim through the book's body to see whether it has good writing and an engaging tale. Whether you plan reading the next great American novel or your first children's book, there are a few things to look for that any good book should have:
A strong start
A fantastic book hooks readers from the very first page and doesn't let go until the very last page. As a result, one of the most significant aspects of a good book is a powerful introduction. The first few pages of a book, for both nonfiction books and fiction books, provide an opportunity to establish their primary character, highlight their distinct narrative voice, and convey the story's stakes. A superb novel will also use its first few pages to establish (or disrupt) the genre's conventions. A thriller novel, for example, should begin with instant action, whereas a fantasy novel should begin with a scene set in a new realm. In any case, excellent literature is only as good as its first few pages, and the first few pages could mean the difference between someone reading the entire book or putting it on the library shelf.
It reminds you of an old Ronseal commercial. Is it as good as it claims to be? When you're halfway through a book and you're wondering why the publisher classified it as a romance novel, or whether the front cover illustration has anything to do with the tale, it detracts from the overall effect. Of course, exceeding your expectations is a sign of a truly great book. You expect a certain something when you see the quotes from well-known authors, the prize nominations, and the tasteful cover design, but what you get is far beyond your expectations. That is an excellent book.
An Ending That Is Satisfying
We don't mean that it has to end with everyone living happily ever after, with the mystery solved, or with long-lost lovers finally reunited. What we mean is that after you finish the book, you want to feel as if you’ve been on a journey and have arrived at a destination, a sense of completion, a sense of 'closure.'
One thing that all great works of literary fiction have in common is rich, intriguing characters. Readers are drawn to good characters because they have someone to love, loathe, or identify with. These characters are diverse and flawed, just like humans in real life, and they provide us insight into human nature as they overcome hurdles and moral tests.
Because readers often experience the events of the story through the eyes of a character, character development is frequently inextricably linked to plot. The reader will be unable to comprehend the significance of narrative events if they don't have a distinct sense of who a character is, what they value, and what they're scared of if you don't have a clear sense of who a character is, what they value, and what they're afraid of. Great writers not only create rich, vivid characters for their protagonists, but also for their antagonists and supporting characters. The bad guys in popular books like the Harry Potter series are just as complex and engaging as the good guys.
The Holding Power
A reader wants to be delighted by a good story when they pick up a novel, short story, or other work of creative writing. A superb story keeps the reader captivated from the first page onward, from the inciting incident to the growing action to the climax. Storytelling isn't something that happens by chance: Before they begin writing better books, good writers typically spend many hours outlining and sketching their stories so that they know what page numbers particular events occur on.
It's essentially that boring old cliché: you can't put it down. If a book holds you, keeps you late for everything, and makes you wish you'd read it more slowly after you've finished it, it's unquestionably a good book. Of course, if this type of book comes with a pre-read warning in the blurb, you can clear your calendar and stock up on food before opening the cover, but there are so many books that are billed as "gripping" or "full of suspense" that you never really know. This is, in my opinion, the most important quality of a good book.
Sharp, memorable dialogue is abundant in good books. Bestsellers have dialogue that progresses the storyline, reveals the characteristics of your characters, and provides complexity to your story's universe. The finest books will balance scenes with a lot of dialogue with scenes that describe action through first-person or third-person narration, and if a first draft leans too heavily on either, the author will almost always endeavour to restore relative balance in subsequent iterations. Great authors know how to make each character's word choice, syntax, and sentence structure sound radically different from one another, giving the reader the impression that no two characters are same.
A Thrilling Plot
The plot must progress. It can go forward, backward, around, and through, but it must move. It must pique your attention as a reader and make you want to find out what happens next, what happened, or what might happen. It must take you as a bookworm on an adventure. You don't want to be able to guess the full narrative right away, or even (dare you say it) from the blurb. You’re looking for some suspense, some surprises, and something that will keep you reading.
Style that is distinct
The voice and tone with which a writer conveys a tale or expresses a concept is referred to as writing style. Every writer has their unique writing style, which is defined by how they use words, the literary devices they prefer, the structure of their sentences, and their overall approach to writing. Writers spend their entire careers studying how to express themselves in their own unique way, and the best cases result in a classic novel with a unique writing style that readers have never seen before.
Speech that isn't muddled
Don't you despise it when you're unsure whose character is speaking? We are not advocating that all writers use the traditional method of indicating speech. All we ask is that, whatever method they choose, it is obvious enough that it does not distract from the tale.
This goes without saying really, and most novels have gone through so much editing that it wouldn’t be a problem, but if you do find the occasional typo or a phrase that seems like it has too many words in it, it does jump out, and the book will have to battle all the harder to make you enjoy it.
That's exactly what it says. What is the length of the book? The length should be appropriate for the genre as well as the story. For example, The Notebook, which was edited down to 45,000 words in its final form, was originally 80,000 words. Why did they make so many cuts? Because the tale was so straightforward (there were only two main characters and two locales, and the majority of the novel was devoted to only a few days), the extra words didn't add anything; in fact, they just slowed the story down. For the same reason, they trimmed 20% from the initial manuscript of The Rescue. In A Bend in the Road, I reduced the length by 25%.
This final factor is commonly missed in most writing books most people have read, and we are not sure why. In novels, length is really essential. For example, how many times have you read a novel that appears to "go on and on?" We have read a lot of books. In fact, there are far too many.
Overly long books are an indication of the author's laziness, as well as an attitude that says to the reader, "I'm the author here, and I know what I'm doing, and if you don't like it, then that says more about you than it does about me, and we both know who is smarter." That is not the case. Who, after all, would have seen Jurassic Park if it had been six hours long? Even though dinosaurs are fascinating and exciting, there comes a point when enough is enough. Why are so many novels these days far too long? Because efficiency is a difficult and time-consuming task. It's much more difficult to truly express a character's essence in a single, original paragraph than it is to do it in a page. However, one of the qualities of good written book is efficiency.
Similarly, novels or scenes that are too brief happen from time to time, and while it doesn't seem to happen as regularly, it does. Characters and situations both cry for more information about them at times. It's sometimes necessary to add "heft" to a novel's overall tempo. A book or scene that is too short is just as horrible as one that is too long.