Qualifications for a Novel
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Thread: Qualifications for a Novel

  1. #1
    The Ace of Aces Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Qualifications for a Novel

    I'm not sure if a thread like this has been made before, hell, I'm not sure if a thread like this really fits. But basically over the last few days I've been wondering what exactly one needs in order to write something that can be considered a novel. Now, in general a novel is pretty much a story that you write and publish, it doesn't mean that you have to follow certain requirements, well...you do but like if we're going off on quality then I think we all have some novels that we think shouldn't even be such things.

    So with that I come to ask, in your own honest opinion what do you think a novel needs in order to be a proper novel, what kind of story does it need to have? what kind of characters? and so on.

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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Qualifications for a Novel

    Definition of a novel is something like, "A long prose narrative that describes fictional characters and events, normally in sequential order."

    To me, a good novel is long enough to deeply develop characters from beginning to end. The story has a large plot, with several smaller subplots along the way.

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    I'm just Saiyan... PiccoloX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Qualifications for a Novel

    I like to think that a Novel teaches you who the characters are over a period of time, not just flat out tells you and sticks with that stale character to the end. Collaborating with others in an RP story, something you must "roll with the punches" you may surprise yourself with how developed your character becomes. Find ways not only to challenge yourself, but the other writers as well. Make it so they want to get involved with your character and teach them who your character is enough that you can actually let them write for your character.

    In the RP story in my signature I have 2 characters, Tsaikogen and Tregrenos. Tsaikogen has had little impact by other characters, growing on his own in relative seclusion. Tregrenos, however, has had a great deal of change based on other characters. He started off as some mysterious murderer that put other writers through challenges where his own life was dependent on what others wrote for this villain.

    Why is Tregrenos still alive after commuting so many atrocities? Were the other writers unsure on how he should die? Did they even want to kill him? Did they want to see what twisted act he had in store for them next? These are the things that made me love this secondary character and I plan on giving him the finally he deserves.
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    Fresh Prince Ladies and Gentlemen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Qualifications for a Novel

    Novels need to be well-written. As in, like, objectively. So they need to follow conventions, not just writing ones, but narrative ones. The average fanfic is nowhere near good enough to publish, mostly because they have things like Mary Sues, cliches, and other problems that would bar you from being published. So if you want to be published, you need to follow rules.

    Take cues from classical literature, stuff they made you read in English class. You might not necessarily like it. But there's a good reason they teach most books. It's not because they think you'll like it. It's not even necessarily because they think the books will make you think or something. They make you read things like The Odyssey and The Count of Monte Cristo because they're case studies of literary rules and conventions, examples of things that make a novel objectively good.

    Hamlet, for example, I personally can't stand it, and there are quite a few people who don't like it. However, it's an excellent example of good characterization. Hamlet is an extremely good anti-hero: He's well intentioned, but still human, so he ultimately procrastinates and gets a lot of people killed. The villain Claudius is evil, but there are moments that characterize him as having nice parts to him. It's an excellent example of a story where the characters are multi-faceted.

    Another good example is The Count of Monte Cristo. You're familiar with Lelouch from Code Geass, or Light from Death Note. The kind of main character who sets up elaborate plans to achieve his ends. The titular Count is where they got their lessons from.

    In other words, if you want to be a good novelist, learn why the classics that you had to read in school are classics.
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    whatever Mako's Avatar
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    Default Re: Qualifications for a Novel

    A novel must be, well, novel. If it doesn't bring something new to the table, it isn't interesting. A good novel should present new ideas, or old ideas in a new way. It should be reasonably long, and have a clear beginning, middle, and end - or a good stopping place, if it's part of a series.

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    Requiem Raver Drakon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Qualifications for a Novel

    For me, a novel is a long narrative with a complex overarching plot with a clear beginning, middle and end. That's it.

    It doesn't mean that said novel is good, it's just the definition.

    James Patterson's Zoo fits but it's really bad with insipid prose and bland characters.
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    Default Re: Qualifications for a Novel

    I'm not sure if you care about word count or not, but I heard once that stories are often sorted into a category that involves word count. For example:

    Short stories: 1,500-30,000 words
    Novellas: 30,000-50,000 words
    Novels: 55,000-300,000

    There might be other types like these, but these are some examples I picked. I got these numbers off of a site called Writer's Digest, if you're wondering.

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