What Makes a Novel?

A lot of people begin writing by the seat of their pants. They just sit down and start keying in the words as they see the story unfolding.

Starting Line to Finish Line

There's not anything wrong with this if you already know where your story is going and how to get to the end. If you don't, you'll stall out after about 50 pages or less.

The reason this happens is that beginning writers don't realize that there are narrative elements crucial to a novel--at least to a successful novel.

From the simplest to the most complex, from the shortest to the longest, a successful novel is always characterized by these elements:
  • a structured story
  • about an appealing character
  • struggling against great odds
  • to achieve a worthy goal.
This is true of every successful novel. Indeed, it is as true now as it was for the first story tellers in the caves a few millennia ago.

Takeaway Truth

These elements: structure, character, conflict, and goal are the crucial elements of any good story--novel, movie, video game, or whatever kind of story may be created in the future.

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