How to Identify Good Novels
Hi guys! Today I'll be discussing the categories of light novels. We all know about xianxia and wuxia, but some might notice the difference between the quality of these LNs. Why and how do they differ from one another in terms of style, entertainment quality, and plot? Knowing this may be important and can affect how you identify/select high-quality LNs that will be translated in the future.
One of the reasons for their difference is because they vary in genre/category. There are a countless number of major/minor genres that are available thanks to the authors. For example, infinite, xuanhuan, VR, and the ones mentioned above. For the sake of simplicity, I will organize them into 3 categories.
1. Simple Light Novels (SLNs)
The SLN category is the mainstream of LNs. One of the reasons why they are so popular is because it grabs the reader's attention and satisfies them quickly; it makes MONEY quickly. Therefore, authors that want to get rich quick would write these novels, and the fact that SLNs are repetitive in terms of settings and plot means that all the SLNs look like duplicates of one story with some variations in between. It gets boring after a while. However, do not be ashamed if you like these novels, they are, quite frankly, satisfying to read and have a high entertainment value.
How to identify SLNs:For SLNs, the plot generally follows this: Encounters bad guy → Bad guy somehow dislike MC and wants to kill MC → MC too weak to challenge him/her → Lucky encounter, MC stronger → Challenges bad guy → Kills him/her → Encounters bad guy → MC too weak to challenge him/her..... etc. This trend will continue until the MC becomes the strongest on the "map", meaning that he is the strongest in this or that realm or whatever. After this, the author will 100% decide to change the "map", meaning the MC will go to another dimension, where the MC will encounter more bad guys. Of course, the author will add spices. For instance, auctions, the supposed "face-slapping", girls, revenge, and funny dialogues. SLN characters are often one dimensional, have negative IQ (except for MC who has IQ of 1), contradictive characters, same plot over and over again, stable characters that do not develop from the beginning to end, characters underestimating MC, and the MC being the only one that gets the good stuff. BTTH, WDQK, SOTR, IGE, and ATG are all examples of SLNs.
2. More complex Light Novels (MCLNs)This title might not be the most creative, but then again, for the sake of simplicity. MCLNs are created for authors that truly dedicate themselves to the novel writing. The MCLNs often progress at a slower pace, and are unique amongst another.
How to identify MCLNs:I have to get this straight: MCLNs DO NOT follow the SLN plot mentioned earlier but it does have a SIMILAR plot. What does this mean? It means that MCLNs are similar to SLNs in terms of plot - without all the crazy and stupid stuff. Because without this SLN plot, how is the MC going to progress and how will the story attract readers? MCLNs do the plot in a more logical way. There are realistic, 3-D characters, the story progresses at a slower pace, the story might have literary elements added, such as suspense, dramatic irony, etc. The characters actually develop or remain the same without their personality diverting from when they were originally introduced (no contradictive characters). The story also brings new concepts to the world of LNs. Examples of MCLNs can be: WMW, ISSTH, TI, and RMJI, which can be recognized as a classic (3rd category).
3. ClassicsThere is no real definition for this category; everyone recognizes their own classic. Yes, I have said previously RMJI could be treated like a classic since it is groundbreaking and made the author famous and rich. To exaggerate a bit, even BTTH can be a classic. This is the LN that made the author famous. Again, no real definition is given for this category. You can define your own classic. At the end, I do want to introduce some rock solid LNs that are commonly recognized as classics. The works of Jin Yong, Gu Long, and Huang Yi (together makes JGH) are all classics of the 20th century. Some of these LNs can be found on WW and Novel Update. Just search their names (though their work has not been fully uploaded to these websites).
Some LN recommendations:
http://www.novelupdates.com/series/pursuit-of-the-truth/ (do I have to say anything?)
http://www.novelupdates.com/series/pivot-of-the-sky/ (brand new ideas from famous author)
http://www.novelupdates.com/series/release-that-witch/ (Haven't read it but heard it's pretty good though)
http://www.wuxiaworld.com/rmji-index/ (Way too underrated)
http://www.novelupdates.com/series/the-ultimate-evolution/ (Just like Terror Infinity but polished)
http://www.novelupdates.com/series/death-sutra/ (Wuxia evolved)
http://www.novelupdates.com/series/purple-river/ (Yes! It's finally here!)
http://www.novelupdates.com/series/great-dao-commander/ (Quite different)
http://www.novelupdates.com/series/throne-of-magical-arcana/ (WHY IS THIS SO UNDERRATED)
http://www.novelupdates.com/series/worthy-of-respect-in-one-age/ (Established new genre)