I write to keep me sane. I write so that my words may outlive my life. I write to find redemption

Friday, July 13, 2007

What is most important in a good book?

Saoirse posed that question at her blog. Click here to take her one question poll at the bottom of the page

For me I chose tension as the most important part of a novel. What I need when I read a novel is to first be engaged by the writer's voice. That is the main thing that will drag me in and keep me in a story. I honestly think that is why editors and readers alike know if a story works for them after one page of a novel, sometimes after only one line even. If the voice doesn't speak to you it is like trying to wade through cement to read it.

Once the writer has me hooked, as they say, I need a reason to stay in the game. I need to know the stakes, the goal, the conflict on every page after that. I don't want to lose the thrill and wonder "When does this story get good again? When does something happen?"

I get invested because of the tension.

If you have time take the poll
and let me know what answer you picked.


  • At 7/13/2007 08:02:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said…


    Thanks for encouraging people to take the poll on my blog. I was really excited to see we could make them and thought it might make things more interesting--I love knowing other people's viewpoints!


  • At 7/14/2007 04:14:00 AM, Blogger Marie said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 7/14/2007 04:16:00 AM, Blogger Marie said…

    I agree, tension is what makes me want to read on too. Also, I have to like (or understand) the lead character.

  • At 7/29/2007 01:32:00 PM, Blogger DBA Lehane said…

    I think I could sit here all day and list all the things I think are important in a good book. Tension is certainly one of the main aspects I agree. It's tension that keeps us turning the pages.

    I have to disagree with Marie slightly. I don't think it is as important to like or understand a character. They just need to interest you. There are plenty of anti-heroes in books I neither like nor understand but am just fascinated enough to read about them.

    Ultimately I want a book that is going to transport me straight into the story. As a writer of plot driven stories - story for me is everything. One of things that really switches me off straight away is anything that is too literary or slow moving.

  • At 8/03/2007 07:30:00 AM, Blogger Marie said…


    I have awarded you with a Thoughtful Blogger Award. Please check yesterday's post on my blog for details.

  • At 8/06/2007 02:11:00 PM, Blogger Rose Red Art said…

    I have to agree tension is important. To me the characters are important too. I have to feel some sort of connection with him/her; to like the main character is preferable.

  • At 8/06/2007 02:11:00 PM, Blogger Rose Red Art said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 8/11/2007 08:43:00 AM, Blogger Raven Starr said…

    Tension, love and conflict. I always love the areas of a book. Great Poll. Come check out my page.
    Been gone a long time but I'm back.
    Thanx again,

  • At 8/11/2007 10:27:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Although you should all visit my site to see the poll results at the page's bottom... ;-) ...Results I got were 50% with need for a strong plot, 37% needed to escape into the book, characters you can relate to and tension tied, and the other aspects I included followed.

    I agree with dba lehane--what makes a book good (or great) would require an amazingly comprehensive list. This one (as most things) is a simple curiosity. ;-)

    Take care!

  • At 11/14/2012 11:02:00 AM, Anonymous Kitchen worktops guy said…

    For me it's the characters. Create engaging, honest, interesting characters and I'll want to read about them, no matter what happens in the story.


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