What makes a good book? Everyone has his own take. Some readers like action, some prefer romance. Some like a little of both. The one thing all readers share is their strong opinions about what elements make a good book. As authors, these are opinions we can’t afford to ignore. This week, I conducted another fun (if highly unscientific) survey, via Twitter and Facebook, to discover what Wordplayers had to say on the subject. As always, your thoughts were deep, funny, pithy, and challenging. Let’s take a look at a few!
What elements must be present in a “good book”?
The book should mean something, or at least make you think about something in a new way.—@jontouchstone
Strong characters. I loathe reading cardboard characters.—@MaryAdkins
Good characters we care about. They can make the most tired or ridiculous plot seem fresh and absorbing.—@brokenvoice
Well-developed characters that I actually care about, not just flat names.—Christopher Michael Thompson
Besides the usual, a good story should [have] a nuerobic element; something to challenge the mind.—@Brahms41
Truth about human nature.—@stevepoling
A relevant message that speaks to the reader.—Sarah Holman
A happy ending.—Sage Dahlby
@Sage: No, no, no, no, no, no!—Austin H. Williams
A happy ending isn’t as important as a satisfying ending. You can make me cry, but make me glad I read to The End.—Lorna G. Poston
“Good book” is so entirely relative. But I think when it gets right down to it a good book must have meaning behind the action, and action behind the characters. The world must work with the characters and story and vice versa, and the more intense this bond the better. I myself strongly prefer good timing, subtlety, and interwoven foreshadowing, though these aren’t strictly necessary.—Holly Heisey
“The most interesting story is always the story of the writer’s style,” said Nabokov.—@RayAHarvey
A story that is not predictable.—April ElshaHawk Schoffstall
A good book slowly grabs you by the soul without your knowledge. By the time you’re in tears and laughing at the top of your lungs at the same time it’s too late. You’re hooked.—Tom Williams
Tell me your opinion: What do you think are the must-have elements of a good book?
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