The effectiveness of a novel is a pretty subjective thing, and there are many skills and strategies involved. But there are three pieces that, if they are in place, create a solid foundation for a novel. In this video, we explore those three pieces: a point, compelling characters, and intentional plot events.


Stephanie (00:06):
Hello writers. If I asked you what makes a novel work, you’d probably have some thoughts. We all have our own opinions based on our reading preferences, our interests, and our past experiences. We might even have some education on the matter and feel quite qualified to answer this. The truth is, whether a novel works or not is pretty subjective. What works for me as a reader might not work for you. Also, there are a bazillion big and small things that go into an effective novel. Everything from overarching theme to a single word choice. But at the end of the day, there are three foundational things that if they aren’t present, will cause a novel to collapse in on itself. Consider them like the skeleton of a house. Without them, there is nothing to hold up the roof and the walls, let alone live safely within. But before I tell you about those three things, listen, you’ve waited long enough to become the writer you’ve always wanted to be.

Stephanie (01:06):
I know how life can get in the way and your personal goal of writing a book can get pushed to the back burner. But I also know that you want to see this story completed and I want to help you. Schedule a free call with me right now. Don’t let your dream stay on the back burner anymore. Click the link below in the description and I will talk to you soon. Alright, so let’s dive into the three things that make a novel effective. The first one is an overarching theme, or as I call it, a point you are trying to make about the larger world. In a previous video, I explained this in a little more detail and the link is in the description below. Suffice it to say for now that an effective novel will have something that the writer is trying to say about the topic of the book.

Stephanie (01:51):
For example, if you were writing a novel about friendship between two women in their forties, you would start by considering what it is that you are trying to say about friendship between women in their forties. Or if you were writing a dystopian thriller about the impacts of climate change, you would consider what it is you’re trying to say about climate change. Often this point sounds like a cliche if you say it directly. Something like “love conquers all” or “money changes everything”. But you’re not going to say it directly. That’s the thing. You’re going to show it through the characters’ actions, reactions, and decisions over the course of the story. Speaking of characters, this brings us to the second pillar of an effective novel. Characters, particularly main characters, are the direct link to the reader. When we read a novel, we’re looking through the eyes or over the shoulder of the characters and thinking, “Would I have done that?

Stephanie (02:49):
Would I feel that way?” Because of this, it’s important to have fully formed, three dimensional, complex characters who make decisions that move us, surprise us, and compel us to keep reading. We don’t have to like them, but we do have to be able to relate to them. And for a writer to pull that off, they need to have a complete understanding of each character and what motivates them. But what will characters be without plot events? We need to put things in the character’s way that cause them to make decisions and grow and change in an intentional way. Our characters don’t just need random things happening to them. They need to be guided toward the lessons they need to learn by the end of the story, which, FYI, is connected to the point. And to do that, the plot events need to be intentionally chosen by the writer to give the characters a chance to take a step forward, or to take two steps back. Whatever needs to happen at that moment in the story. Again, there are so many things that go into the effectiveness of a novel. And truly whether a novel is good or not is quite subjective. But if you start with these three foundational pieces, your novel will start on solid ground. If you would like more writing tips, and if you know someone who would enjoy this video, please subscribe and share. Thanks. Happy writing.