Novel, a literary composition of any significant length and occasionally a bit of complexity, generally dealing with human emotion and of somewhat elevated degree of complexity, generally with a causal link between a set of people in a particular situation and the subsequent unfolding of that situation in the plot of the novel. When any literary work of fiction is lengthy enough to qualify as a novel, as opposed to merely a short piece of trivia…so to speak…that it should be classified as a novel. A novel, by definition, is a written work that tells a story. In other words, if you take a work of fiction like The Adventures of Peter Rabbit and read it to its last word, you would have achieved the same effect as having someone re-write it from scratch. By this definition, a work of fiction can be any literary work that tells a story, whether it is written or spoken, in the format of a novel. As the saying on “Thatcher Hill” reminds us: a writer doesn’t have to follow the rules.
Novels are generally written as a result of a plot developed by the protagonist(s), who are presented in some way by the author to the reader. Most of the time, the protagonist is presented as the hero of the story who acts on behalf of the protagonist/ hero, battling antagonist(s) or attempting to prevent something bad from happening to others. Sometimes the protagonist is the antagonist, who does whatever he or she can to cause the protagonist(s) and/or the antagonist(s) to undergo misfortune. Although sometimes the characters may be viewed as wholly good, evil, or neutral, the primary driving force for the plot is usually a desire among the characters to escape from or to overcome something bad that is occurring in their lives, but often there is a secondary, or even primary motivation behind the actions of the characters.
In order to qualify as fiction, the novel must have reasonable levels of plausibility. This means that the reader should be able to suspend their disbelief in the events that occur to the characters in the book. Usually, this is the major premise of the story, although it is not necessary to develop every major premise in the novel. A character makes a mistake that can be explained away as an accident (a flaw in the character’s reasoning, for example), or the actions of a secondary major protagonist can be explained away as the consequence of actions taken by that character in the past.
Novels are classified according to their length. There are books, which can easily be categorized into short novels that span several volumes. The majority of short novels are successful at building an author’s credibility. However, some successful books in the history of science fiction and the writing of which have been rejected by publishers because of the very length of the stories, have received their literary recognition through word of mouth or the commercial success of the movie.
The most important part of writing a novel is identifying and creating characters. Although an author has many ideas for characters and plot, no novel will be successful unless the characters are developed and brought to life on the pages. Aspiring novelists often begin with a blank manuscript, while more experienced novelists develop plots based on previous works. The most difficult element to overcome in writing a novel is the temptation to summarize each event or character in a single sentence. However, this temptation is a part of writing a novel that overcomes with practice. In short, a writer must make the reader work for the resolution of each scene and must allow the reader to develop his/her opinion of the novel’s characters.
Writing novels is not as easy as it looks on the surface. It takes a substantial period of time to research and write from scratch, something that most aspiring novelists are well aware of. Another problem that most new writers face is the decision between selling their work to the public or keeping it within the confines of their homes. Many aspiring writers choose to keep their work to themselves, preferring to limit exposure to potential readers. However, some novelists who enjoy selling to the public have learned to maximize advertising of their works and make the most of word count limits.