What makes a good novel?

41VSmi9ZOjL._UY250_ Hello, Ekphrasians! Hello, world!

On Monday, February 2nd, 2015, we are going to open our ordinary Ekphrasis workshop with something new: An activity and discussion about how to measure the quality of a novel. You don’t have to do anything in preparation if you don’t want to, but here are some ideas of things to be thinking about:

1. What are some of your favorite novels?
2. Do you also think that these are some of the best novels ever written?
3. Which novels do you believe are the best ones ever written?
4. Are these novels all in the same genre, or do they have a variety, such as historical fiction, mystery, fantasy, etc?
5. Do the standards for excellence in a novel vary from genre to genre, or are they the same?
6. Do the standards for excellence in a novel vary from time period to time period, or language to language, or culture to culture, or are they universal?

 7. Are there both micro standards for writing (at the local level
855983, such as grammar, sentence structure, diction, etc.) AND macro standards (at the larger level, such as character development, narrative trajectory, overarching structure, etc.)? If so, does a novel have to achieve excellence in both to be truly great?
8. Could a novel be considered great for its content even if it employed a poor writing style, or vice versa?

Thanks for preparing your thoughts. See you on Monday at 6:00, d.v.


About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is a writer, English teacher, and Inklings scholar. Sørina serves as Chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Signum University and teaches English at King's College and Lehigh Carbon Community College. She has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" and "Caduceus."

2 thoughts on “What makes a good novel?

  1. Curt Day says:

    The #1 criteria for what makes a good novel is whether it becomes a hit movie.

  2. Stan Badgett says:

    Lord of the Flies is an example of a great novel that is not very well written.

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