We all have books that we love and books that we hate. But what makes a book good? Sometimes, we have books that are good but we don’t like. For example, Titanic is considered a great movie, but some people don’t hold it in such a high regard. Good has such a subjective meaning. For book critics or reviewers in general there meaning of good has a more technical aspect, focusing more on plot, character, and cohesiveness. For the casual reader, good has a more entertainment aspect. This is what I think makes a good book.
1. The characters
The characters of the book are a vital part of the book and what makes it good. They are the connection between the story and the reader. We don’t necessarily have to like them especially if that is their purpose, but they have to have a purpose to the story. They can’t just be there to fill out some pages with dialogue, they actually have to do something, affect the main characters in some way, or get a bigger point across. The main characters adhere to this at a much bigger level. They are after all the main characters, they are the ones who are the main focus of the story. Yes, they may be an asshole, arrogant, or stupid even, but they have to move the story along. For example, Holden in Catcher in the Rye divides many readers. He is arrogant and maybe to sarcastic for his own good, but that is what he was intended to be. The actions he performs lends towards the main theme of the book and serve a bigger purpose. If a book sets up a relationship, there has to be chenistry before the two get together. It cannot have small moments and then rushed just for the sake of having a relationship. Like I said before we don’t have to like the characters, but of course it certainly helps. Likable characters or characters that we connect with help keep readers engaged throughout the book.
2. The World
This is another part of making a good book. Now it is not as big as the characters, but it can certainly aid the book. Some books often rely on a cool setting and world like Ready Player One to ofset its problems. This is of more importance to science fiction and fantasy where new world are often created and often the attraction to new readers. For those genres, they often set the book in a place with a long history and rich lore. Now the author does not need to make a brand new world to immerse the reader. Books in historical fiction, like The Things They Carried, mostly do a great job of putting the reader there at that event. To make the reader immersed in that world, to make them feel like they are actually there is not a small feat. While it’s not the most essential part of the book, creating a world with depth and immersion will be a great asset.
3. The Plot
The plot is well, the story of the book. This is one of the most important parts of the book. Now a lot can go wrong. Too many authors often create an interesting premise only to do nothing with it. Sometimes the author can put too much subplots and end up with a mess by the end. Sometimes the author tries to seem smart by adding so many twists, you have no clue what just happened. Sometimes the plot takes five years to move along and loses the reader to boredom. Sometimes the plot gets so ridiculous that anything written before makes little to no sense.You get the point? The plot can have twists or it can be straightforward serving only as a way for the characters to develop. If there is a twist, it has to make sense within the story. There should not be a twist just for the sake of having a twist. There should be small evidence hidden or implied before it is revealed. In my opinion, the books that have a concise plot with some subplots but stay organized often are good. The story has to change the characters in some way. I mean it seems kinda obvious right? Now, the book does not need to have twists or anything new to be considered good. Many books often use the same plot but with different characters, setting, etc. If you’re gonna use something that’s been done before, execute it to a servicable degree. Now can the plot have those things mentioned above. Absolutely. As long as the plot stays concise and not convoluted for the sake of shock value.
That’s the basis of what I think makes a good book. There are many more factors that go into a book, but that’s the general overview of it. Does a good book pass with flying colors of the things I mentioned above? Of course not. Like people, there is no such thing as perfect. Many good books often only excel in 1 or 2 of those areas. For example, Ready Player One is one of my favorite books of all time. The world is absolutely fantastic, but the plot and characters are fairly basic. In this case, the characters and plot are done well enough that the main attraction of the book can ofset its basic characters and plot structure. No book is perfect and no book should be. Well, I guess that’s it. See you next time. Ok, no more outros. It’s a bit weird.