Factors of a Great Novel!



hello my name is Kat and today I would like to talk about the factors of a great novel so a little while ago I talked about immersion and how I feel like there are a lot of factors that contribute to a great novel but that the overall effect of a great novel is this immersive experience it's the overall effect of immersion that really grabs you in hooks you and doesn't let you go so if immersion is the key to a great novel what is the key to immersion I think it can be broken down into seven main factors if you can really nail and get down these seven factors then you are well on your way to creating an overall great novel the first factor is characters you want your characters to feel real you want to give the reader someone to root for someone they can cheer on someone that they trust to take them on this journey of story and this isn't just about developing your main characters even minor characters even ones who don't get a lot of page time they are still real in the world of your story they still have motivations and fears and hopes and backstory and you don't want to have cardboard characters even if they're just minor cardboard characters the second factor is world building you want a deep well-developed vivid world for your characters to live in I've talked a little bit about this before but fantasy or not your characters live in a real complex world and you want that to come across on the page the third factor is story this is your plot you want to make sure there are no plot holes everything is plausible and holds up you don't want any mistakes or leaps and logic or nonsensical things another aspect of story that kind of ties back to the characters is that you want your characters actions to work while with the story and also make sense for the characters their choices and decisions and motivations have to feel real as well and they have to make sense to the story and the characters the fourth factor is style / structure this is just how you choose to tell your story you have your plot you have your characters your world how are you going to share all this information how you relay your story to the readers this is stuff like how funny do you want to be how dark do you want to be how long or how short are your chapter is going to be what point of view will you use first person third person present tense past tense future times stylistic things like that and also structural things like does your inciting incident happened near the beginning and is that what really kicks off your story and does your character reach their darkest moment there all time well before the end when they come back up again into being heroic and awesome style and structure this is how you tell your story the fifth factor is description description paints the picture a story into your mind you want to make sure you're really getting good descriptions of how characters look how settings look how particular locations look how certain scenes look but more importantly you want to get down how all of these things feel you want to create moods and atmospheres you don't only want to capture how something looks but more complexly how something is factor number six is emotion a great novel is one that the reader can get emotionally invested in you want them to care about your characters and the choices they face you want them to have a stake in your characters existence and what is going to happen to them and do you want them to experience the highs and lows the emotional rollercoaster of their story you want the reader to experience that along with your character emotion is what connect to a story like no matter what your story is about how science fiction or weird and out there it might be there are like core human emotions that everyone goes through and that everyone unless you are like a sociopath can identify with and the last factor now this is the one that is the hardest and the most time consuming to really nail down is the writing the actual prose and words of your story and this is the one that takes the most time to get down because you can do all this developmental planning work on characters and world building and all that but the actual words on the page that is what directly conveys the story into the readers head and something like a fumbly sentence or a weirdly worded paragraph can like jolt them out of the story and you do not want that the whole point of an immersive novel is that you are immersed the entire time and that you don't read a sentence and go wait what I don't get it and have to read it again you don't want that you want it to be difficult nay impossible for the reader to put your book down and clunky sentences or strange wording is one surefire way to jerk a reader out of this fantastic story world and into the world of wait does that make sense I don't think it does so these are what I believe are the seven factors that help contribute to a great novel so for the first seven weeks of 2013 this upcoming year I'm going to spend one week focusing on each of these factors except maybe the writing prose one because I feel like I'll need more than a week for that but that one's last well we'll get to that when it comes anyways I will just be making a writing Wednesday video every Wednesday for the next seven Wednesday's talking about each of these factors in greater detail I will be sharing my process and also giving you guys some ideas for like tasks or assignments or activities that you can take and apply to your own novel so there you have it these are what I believe are the main factors that contribute to a great novel I hope you guys enjoyed this video and I hope you enjoy my upcoming series of videos in which I discuss these factors in greater detail and yeah that is everything I wanted to talk about in this video today I hope you have a great night and I will see you in a couple of days with a new video goodbye

23 thoughts on “Factors of a Great Novel!

  1. -Characters
    -World building
    -Story /plot
    -style /structure
    -description
    -emotions
    -writing
    … Thank you!

  2. Will you be continuing this? i really want to watch the other 'chapters'

  3. With my characters, I build them off of me. What I wish I could be like, what I am like, what I'm not like, and then I tweak them until I have someone I could almost talk to.

  4. I just showed this to my high school students who are beginning a fantastic journey, in other words are becoming participants in NaNoWriMo's Young Writer's Program.

    They enjoyed it and were able to get a good sense for what they need to aim for.

    Your videos will be used for my mini-lessons throughout NaNoWriMo. I can say this will be a busy month because I am leading 90+ students through and myself through NaNoWriMo while I am going to grad school yet again. let's hope we can all survive NaNoWriMo!

  5. You don't seem to have published anything…  I have no idea what your education is…  Some videos I really find your voice reminds me of a female Bobcat Goldthwait…   But OMG you have somehow become my primary 'Mentor' on all things Novely.   When will you give us (ME)  Factors of a great novel #5-#7 ???

  6. I'm writing a fantasy sci-fi novel at the moment. I've been working on the premise of the story for four years and I've tried several times to write it but I think I'm finally ready to write it fully and for real. Videos like this are really helpful! Because I have to admit novel writing is hard and arduous but of course that's what's required to make good stories!

  7. This is a fantastic list!  Something I would like to add to #7… another sign of a great novel… it's that it's been written!  I spent seven years prepping and outlining my story, reading up on tips and tricks, writing character descriptions, thinking about my characters, etc.  But one day as I was taking notes, I realized that I'd spent forever going through the paces of writing a story, but hadn't actually written a single word!  It's good to study up and be knowledgeable of your craft, but there comes a point when you just have to say "fuck it" and dive in.  I learned more actually writing my story than I did practicing to write it.  <3

  8. Cool video. 🙂 The only thing further I have to add is a general "distillation" of the idea here, that to insure your readers are immersed in your story, you the writer have to be completely immersed in it yourself.  Almost to the point of happy obsession lol.

  9. Katytastic, i have a title that you could read.  You are a young white girl. No one would peg you as a reader of the techno war thriller novel pioneered by Tom Clancy.  The best book 'ive ever read is in this genre, called "Red Army" by Ralph Peters (1989).  It is a book about a Russian invasion in Europe in the late 80s.  It is written from the Russian perspective only.  It amazingly, amazingly, does NOT mention the name of a single weapon in the entire novel.  Well, twice – but otherwise the focus is completely on the characters' impressions of the furnace of modern war, their struggles with their own flaws and fears, and against each other.  
    The writer has a gift for perfect story structure, and each individual sentence is briliant. You'll like it i promise!  Everything you want in a novel is right there. 

  10. Hi Kat have you read the book thief? If you have and haven't watched the trailer could u do a reaction of it? Cause it's just devastatingly beautiful 😀

  11. lol it sounds like so much work 😛 I hate my writing yet I'm passionate about reading and good storyline, even if it's in a game I'm playing. However, my writing just puts me to sleep because I can't capture depth or atmosphere in my writing at all. I just can't understand why I can't write anything good.

  12. Just stumbled across this series. Awesome! Enjoying all the videos so far.

  13. you said there is seven parts to this factors of a great novel are you ever going to finish it just wondering.

  14. lol i took notes on this video and found it very helpful so thank you for this video

  15. Hehe glad you got the joke, I even put the crying face there. 😛

    I call it perfception, (I have no idea how ception became a legit suffix, or perf becoming a word for that matter :P), new words that will arise midst this new change: perfectology, perfectfull, perfectless, perfectlet, and so on.
    You can study this perfectology, which is the study of being perfect and the variation of perfectness in my perfectology course, which if you're interested, I'll give further details.

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