Post Reply What makes a super-hit book different from our books?
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Posted 5/1/08
What is talent when writing books? As a soccer player, you're expected to play well with your teammates, and score goals against impossible defences... but ... what is it to be a top class novel writer?

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Posted 5/2/08
Art, music, and writing are very abstract, so I can see why you would be asking this question. Recently I read a novel that might help elucidate this, not that it was about writing though. The novel was "The Prince of Blood" by Raymond E. Feist.

In my opinion, the writing was nothing exceptional. For pure, great writing(not to mention great plots) read George R.R. Martin. I was continually saying to myself "What an obvious plot device." or "What a mediocre character introduction."

The plot wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible. For the most amazing plots ever read Steven Erikson(<--godly). Palace intrigue, backstabbing, ect.

However, even though I acknowledged these points as I read, I couldn't help but continue on. It really outlines that great writing isn't necessarily about the words on the page, it is more about how they come together. This seems like an oxymoron even as I write it, but I that the truth of it. Great novelists don't think about writing a word to end the sentence, they think of that next word, which will lead to next sentence, which leads to the next paragraph...all the way to the end. Great novelists write novels that fit together, even if the writing itself isn't great, even if the plot isn't great, somehow they make it fit.

This is how great novelists write. Of course, the greatest of all writers have a plot that shakes the foundations of your world, and pureness of form that makes you drool. Steven Erikson(<--godly) is one such writer. Only one notch below him is George R.R. Martin. Despite the hype, JK Rowling is not, I repeat, not a great writer, if you doubt me then just read the aforemention godly writers.
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Posted 5/3/08
Mmm....yeah, it's all about originality and luck, really. As state above, J.K. Rowling? Not the best writer. She's not terrible either, don't get me wrong. However, her idea reached the right people and became a great hit! Tolkien isn't the best writer either. His descriptions are a bit overdone at times (read: five pages describing a rock. XD) HOWEVER, again, his idea was astounding and the sheer massive scale that he wrote his books in (read: Middle Earth made me people DROOL), that's why he's considered a classic.
So...yeah....basically, you gotta' get lucky, and have a damn good idea.
And be stubborn. Don't stop getting your idea out. I believe Rowling got Harry Potter turned down by a number of companies, including the big ones like Scholastic. Bet they're kicking their own asses now. XD
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Posted 5/3/08
Hm...using luck really the best tip for a writer who is just starting to write.
What makes a good book is
1. plot with
a) Romance.
b) Conflict.
c) Tragedy.
d) Heroism/Fantasy.
2. voice/detail style in
a) Humor.
b) Sadness.
c) A mixture of reality. (E.G. First person-thoughts and feelings, etc.)

If you can fit a good voice and good plot together, you're basically set and free to wind a story into a good novel.
A good example for this is Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. She combines romance,conflict, tragedy, and a bit of heroism and fantasy into her plot. She also puts into the book a mixture of reality which makes it all the more interesting. If you're looking for a book, read it.
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Posted 5/4/08 , edited 5/4/08
ok guys, a hit book needs to be one thing, and one thing only.

Original.

Without an original plot/character/writing style, it won't be memorable.

Good examples of original hit books are Harry Potter (alot of people did rip offs from HP), Lord of the Rings, Any Steven King books (Freaky reads tho, very freaky), anything from dickens, anything from shakespeare (i love his tragedies...they are so...tragic. T__T) ok and basically anything classical. I mean...that's how they becamse classical. Duh. >.>

Same applies for manga and anime. Death Note, for an example had very unique and weird characters like L and Misa and such.

Anyway, the point is, make ur writing original and dont try to make a rip off from other books cos like, yeah, thats for noobs and fucktards, lmao.

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Posted 5/4/08
So JK Rowling is a noob and fucktard? Even I wouldn't go that far. But she really wasn't all that original. I just lawled at whatever the hell that big spider was...because that big spider was a huge ripoff of Shelob. It disgusted me. Really. Then theres the wise, old wizard with a big beard who acts as an adviser to the protagonist, what was his name? Gandalf? Oh no, thats right, it was Dumbledor(spelling?)...

I could go on.

Originality doesn't always have to do with great writing(though sometimes it plays a big part), or great works in general. Lets take John Williams, the composer for Star Wars. I think most people agree Star Wars has one of the most well done soundtracks ever, right? Well, try listening to "The Planets" by Gustav Holst. I might not be remembering correctly, but the Imperial March Theme is unmistakably related to Jupiter. The Princess Leia/Cloud City theme is Mars, I think.

The point is that most of the greatest writers and musicians aren't all that original.

Even Tolkien, origin of modern fantasy, copied a variety of mythological sources. It wasn't like dwarves, halfings(hobbits), or dragons just popped up in his head overnight. The languages that Tolkien invented were based of Scandanavian(?) or some related language.

After LotR, all fantasy writers copied Tolkien. Why? Because his books were godly. Anyone who continued writing in the older styles just wouldn't sell. So what did writers do? They copied what was good. Obviously, some of their works turned out badly, to say the least. But many didn't, and huge successes such as Harry Potter(though I dislike the work) went on to inspire their own rip-offs.

Ending point: Influence is HUGE.
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Posted 5/4/08
Originality doesn't help, as stated above. But influence is just the outcome isn't it? To make a good story, basically is to have good characters, good plot, good fluency, and good voice. There's nothing else to it.
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Posted 5/4/08
Well, its not that originally doesn't help. For some people, it does, and for some it doesn't. I could name books that go either way in terms of originality, yet are still excellent.

Alastair Reynolds, who is an amazing SF writer is quite original IMO, esp. for space dramas which can often be overdone. In his case, its his sheer creativity in thinking up something that no one else ever would. Same for Steven Erikson, who I mentioned in my first post.

George Martin, who I also mentioned previously, is not an exceptionally original writer. However, he is just so good at writing that it simply doesn't matter. He takes a plot that would quite possibly be boring if another person wrote it, and adds in great suspense, intrigue, and action.

However, a majority of good writers take to the latter path.
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Posted 5/5/08
yeah wtever. tried to help. guess it doesnt matter. =.=""""
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Posted 5/6/08
LOL...looks like we have a topnotch analyst with us...don't apologise xxuseless-bulle... you're points are just as valid as anyone else's.
I think what makes a top class novel is what appeals to the masses, because ofcourse nomatter how good a writer you maybe unless and until someone reads it and acclaims your work to be a master piece, you're pretty much out of it.
Now what may appeal to the masses? an orignal peice of work..yes very much
a not so orignal peice of work presented brilliantly? yes again.
Again it's very important for the book to have elements that will keep the reader coming back, and i think it's important for the book to have a fast moving plot, also simple language. Good plots and good charcters are a given.
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Posted 5/7/08
Haha yeah, sorry to xxuseless-bulle... I wasn't really trying to make you take back anything you said. Obviously, what is 'good writing' is a matter of opinion.

I think syphl made a great point about 'simple language.' Though, I have only a vague idea as to the meaning. A complex plot presented simply is awesome, but a simple plot presented complexly is crap.

A fast moving plot is definitely important, but it doesn't necessarily have to be such. The illusion that the plot is moving quickly is just as good and can even be better. For example, the best fantasy authors convince you that theres an epic battle right around the corner. In the next chapter probably. Or not. They dangle that carrot right in front of you, so you can't stop.

I think the best (fantasy) writers convince you that action is about to occur, but don't give it to you for a long time. The worst writers just give you action in every chapter, reason being that fighting is the easiest thing to write. Thats a tip I would definitely give to you budding writers out there. Don't give the audience what they want right away, especially when what they want is fighting.
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Posted 5/8/08
Let's just say that your tastes decide what a good book is. Since we all like different kind of novels, why not just leave it at that? A good book to one can be horrible to another and vice versa.
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Posted 5/9/08
I wouldn't say that tastes are 100% of the picture, though they are a good amount of it.

There are certain foundations of a novel that no book can go without, those which will always make the book better.

For example, I don't think that anyone would prefer to have unrealistic characters over realistic ones. I don't think anyone likes poor descriptions better than vividly detailed ones. And though some people might like being bored to death, 99.5% of people don't--there are plenty of books for that 0.05% anyway.

Most people are oriented towards a few favorite genres, but no matter what tastes they have, nobody likes a book without the foundations of writing. (Except that 0.05%--hopefully they aren't reading this...)
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Posted 5/10/08
I have to agree with Fontong, there are some elements which no book should lack, especially if it aims to become a "Top Class Novel". Though tastes certainly matter to an individual, that doesn't neccesarily mean a particular favourite has the caliber to become a top class novel.
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