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What makes a good novel?


KenWright

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For me: 

what makes a novel bad is any one of a number of factors:

  • too overpowered MC or heroes
  • too overpowered villains
  • when s***t doesn't make sense, no consistency in story
  • bad translation (thankfully, I I have not really seen that on WW)
  • overuse of deux ex machina (basically plot armor)

What would make a novel acceptable to me, is, if for its genre, it:

  • avoids the bad points above
  • makes a decent attempt of stringing together a band of characters, an environment, villains, a plot and sufficient padding (sub-plots) together

What would make a novel great to me is:

  • avoids the bad points far above
  • has consistent, fleshed out characters, including supporting characters
  • a villain with a story
  • a hero with a story, who has to fight for what they believe is right
  • weaving together the main characters and supporting characters, antagonists and supporting antagonists, in a well-developed or sensible environment, driven together by a major plot and enjoyable sub-plots. The sub-plots should be great on their own (arcs, or themes.
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Immortal Devil Transformation - would be great, but the translation with its goddamn run-on sentences and over-description lowered it to acceptable.

 

Second Life Ranker - would be acceptable, but the translation with crisp sentences and existence of the manhwa for visualizing increased it to great.

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48 minutes ago, stellartranslations said:

Immortal Devil Transformation - would be great, but the translation with its goddamn run-on sentences and over-description lowered it to acceptable.

 

Second Life Ranker - would be acceptable, but the translation with crisp sentences and existence of the manhwa for visualizing increased it to great.

Gosh, I remember that about IDT. Though it got a bit jacked in the end. 
SLR - I think I shall try it again.

 

Thanks for participating! 

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A good novel for me is one that leaves me tingling with excitement and bated breath for the next chapter to drop. 

for me it is just that simple. Wow me and I am yours for the reading. 

***********************************************************************************************************************

A bad novel for me is one that incoherent and rambling.

A novel needs to make the kind of sense that the reader can understand.  What annoys is when the author try to pull fast ones with far fetched explanations and vague meanings with no tie ins to the plot or characters.  

Ramblings that do nothing but regurgitate the same information or conversations over and over again to fill up pages. Word count does not a good story make. You know how bad it truly is when you can skim a page and sum it up in one sentence. 

Characters that appear and then go way of the dodo bird to never be seen or heard from again and leave us scratching our poor heads trying to figure out how they tied into the whole thing in the first place.

Rinse and repeat sub plots that leave you asking why the novel did not end 1000 chapters ago. 

 

I am sure I have other points to make and whine about but these came to mind without a second think. 

 

Edited by meeno
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  • 4 weeks later...

in my opinion, the most important thing that makes a novel good is prose. i know a lot of people would disagree with me there -- there are plenty of novels with great stories but bad translations, and plenty of people enjoy them enough to power through them anyway, but i personally can't do that. as for novels with good prose and bad storytelling... i don't think they exist. as i see it, poor characterization undermines prose (since it leads to unnatural conversations, which make for bad prose), and good characterization creates a good story, no matter what. good worldbuilding is a nice bonus, since it's much more conducive to characterization, but i don't think it's strictly necessary.

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4 hours ago, megaautist said:

in my opinion, the most important thing that makes a novel good is prose. i know a lot of people would disagree with me there -- there are plenty of novels with great stories but bad translations, and plenty of people enjoy them enough to power through them anyway, but i personally can't do that. as for novels with good prose and bad storytelling... i don't think they exist. as i see it, poor characterization undermines prose (since it leads to unnatural conversations, which make for bad prose), and good characterization creates a good story, no matter what. good worldbuilding is a nice bonus, since it's much more conducive to characterization, but i don't think it's strictly necessary.

Thanks for replying @megaautist

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On 1/1/2024 at 10:42 PM, meeno said:

A good novel for me is one that leaves me tingling with excitement and bated breath for the next chapter to drop. 

for me it is just that simple. Wow me and I am yours for the reading. 

***********************************************************************************************************************

A bad novel for me is one that incoherent and rambling.

A novel needs to make the kind of sense that the reader can understand.  What annoys is when the author try to pull fast ones with far fetched explanations and vague meanings with no tie ins to the plot or characters.  

Ramblings that do nothing but regurgitate the same information or conversations over and over again to fill up pages. Word count does not a good story make. You know how bad it truly is when you can skim a page and sum it up in one sentence. 

Characters that appear and then go way of the dodo bird to never be seen or heard from again and leave us scratching our poor heads trying to figure out how they tied into the whole thing in the first place.

Rinse and repeat sub plots that leave you asking why the novel did not end 1000 chapters ago. 

 

I am sure I have other points to make and whine about but these came to mind without a second think. 

 

Thanks Meeno!

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In my not so humble opinion, there are different kinds of good. 

There's the kind you listen to when you are tired but need to stay awake (driving, watch,...).  This one needs action and no annoying stats or ability lists that clog the TTS.  It has to be fast paced to keep you awake, but it's okay if it is repetitive. Likewise, having a good flow of words helps, but it should not be too deep/difficult for your tired mind to comprehend. 

Then there is the kind you read when you are not at risk of passing out: full of mystery and intrigue.  It should not be obvious or too repetitive.  Face slapping annoying women is too cheap to safely enjoy at full consciousness.  Rather the characters should be complex, the world rich in culture, and the plot sensible yet at times surprising.  Furthermore, I expect decent Chinese/English from such works.  A few references to literature or thinkers of bygone times, beautiful and precise language, and originality. 

Of course, there are plenty of novels in between and other categories, but these two are my main. 

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