What Makes a Novel Interesting?

                                                                                                                           By Brad Bell

           Many people may enjoy reading novels.  What makes a novel interesting?  This is an important question to address in order to gain a better understanding of how to write an interesting novel, or to gain insight concerning the attributes of interesting stories.  In this article, I will argue that a coherent story line, an original story line, unique characters, a meaningful message, and inspirational messages are five factors that may influence perceptions of how interesting a novel is.

A Coherent Story Line

         If the story line does not make much sense to me, I may discontinue reading the novel. It is important that I have a fairly good understanding of the reasons for the events in the novel.   In order to enjoy a novel, it may be necessary that the novel has a coherent story line.  The sequence of events in the novel should be logical and meaningful.

An Original Story Line    

         The originality of the story line may partly determine what makes a novel good.  A novel with a story line that seems fairly similar to other novels may not be very interesting.   A predictable plot with no surprising events may be boring.  A novel with a more original story line may be more interesting.  Thus, in writing a novel, it would be good to create a fairly original story line.  For example, my novel, A Bright Purple Sky (Bell, 2019), takes places in the 29th century and involves information on two alien cultures.

Unique Characters

          A person may have a personality that is unique in some ways.  Thus, it could be argued that a believable character in a novel will have some unique attributes.  Unique characters may seem more authentic, and they may be more interesting.  The uniqueness of the characters can be presented with detailed dialogue or narration.  A character that has a more complex personality may seem to be more unique.  For example, a character may seem more unique if the character appears to be extroverted in some situations, and introverted in other situations.

A Meaningful Message

         A novel with a meaningful message may be more interesting.  A meaningful message can be described as a message that provides insight into an important problem, conveys an important lesson in life, or fosters self-knowledge.    For example, my novel, A Bright Purple Sky (Bell, 2019), there is information on elements that are thought to foster a better society.  

Inspirational Messages

          Whether a story has inspirational messages may be one factor that determines what makes a story interesting, and thus a novel with inspirational messages may be more interesting.  A novel that has a happy ending may provide the reader with a sense of hope, and this makes the novel more interesting.  Also, a novel that provides the reader with a greater sense of meaning in life may be more interesting.  For example, in my novel, A Bright Purple Sky (Bell, 2019), there is information on three types of meaning in life. These include everyday meaning, social meaning, and higher meaning.


Bell, B,  (2019).  A Bright Purple Sky.  Portland, Oregon:  Blue Fox Communications.