The Elements of a Successful Novel

If it doesn’t feel right when you write it, then scrap it.

There are several elements that make up a good novel. The main elements you need to consider when planning your novel are:


Where are you setting your novel? Is it a fantasy land of which you are designing all elements of or is it a location you are familiar with? If you are writing about a location that isn’t fictional it is best to research the location. Readers like to see realism when they read about a location they are familiar with.


What are the background of your characters? What would they wear? What are their personality and appearance? Half of what you plan for your characters might never make it into the novel. Some may make it into a sequel if you are lucky enough to be able to write one.

Theme / Genre

What is the main theme of your novel? What genre are you hoping to write for? Don’t be worried about writing over a combination of genres. Some of my favourite authors write over a variety of genres.


Is the novel going to be written in past or present tense? You can always write in present tense and then make flashback past tense.

Point of view

If you write in the third person, you are the narrator telling the story. If you write in the first person then you are telling the story as it happens to you. Both have their own pitfalls and advantages. Some novels try to combine both. Each chapter changes perspective, this is not always easy to do.


This is similar to the theme for the novel but, involves the premise for the novel. What journey are the characters going to take? Many of the best novels start with broken and flawed characters, who then develop over the course of the novel. What obstacles will the characters face and overcome?


When writing dialogue it needs to be realistic. The best way to ensure this is to speak the dialogue out as you write it. Make sure the dialogue is appropriate to the age that you are writing for but, also to the age of the characters.

Once you have completed your novel then you need to look at publishing.

There are three ways to publish a novel.

Traditional Publishing

This is a difficult market you break into. This shouldn’t mean you don’t try though.

Self Publishing

This can be an easier option. It does need you to carry out your own marketing though, which is not always easy.

Writing as a Consultant

You are paid to write for a company or someone else. Your name may not be connected to the work.


Good writing evokes a response in readers. Hate and anger are emotional responses. These are as acceptable as love and success when writing a novel.

What are you waiting for, start writing now?

Published by Sam H Arnold

Sam H Arnold is a writer of True Crime, Parenting and Writing Tips articles. If you have enjoyed her work you might consider donating her a coffee on Ko-Fi. Links to this and all her other work can be found on the about me page.

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