What Makes a Book Good? A Writers Guide to Success

The ingredients to a good book are vast and subjective. No two people will ever be able to agree on what makes a book good, but there are always some things that make any book worth reading.

For a good book, a writer needs to craft a story that immerses the reader. The characters and story combine to grab readers’ interest so they can’t put the book down. Mix in an original plot with plenty of tension, twists and you have a good book that will be recommended to others.

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A Strong Opening

A good book is difficult to write. A good opening is even more challenging.

Keeping a reader interested from the very first sentence is no easy task. In order to grab a person’s attention, an author needs to invent a compelling hook, write remarkable prose, or present an interesting perspective.

A book with a strong opening will jump out of the pile and grab its readers’ attention from the word go.

A story must be told in the most engaging way possible and there are so many different factors that need to come together for a book’s words to capture the reader’s interest from start to finish. The first sentence of any piece of writing sets the stage for what follows. Although many would argue that the title draws readers in, it is actually the opening sentences.

A great opening will introduce the reader to the book while making them curious about what comes next. The first few sentences of a book may seem small, but they must be effective in arousing the reader’s curiosity about what will happen next.

The Story Grabs your Interest

No matter how well-written a book’s words are, if there is no plot then there will be no reason for the reader to continue. No matter how carefully crafted your prose is and no matter how beautifully a sentence is crafted if nothing is interesting happening, then what’s the point of continuing to read?

A good story will keep its readers’ attention and make them want to know what happens next. A great book must be able to capture and maintain its audience’s attention.

A strong plot is an author’s blueprint for a story and if the story isn’t engaging, it will fall flat. It is vital that the writer keeps the reader interested throughout their writing to avoid losing interest halfway through or near the end of the book and stop reading altogether.

Compelling Character Development

The characters in a good story must also be well-developed. A strong narrative will have engaging characters that readers care about. Still, an interesting story alone isn’t enough to keep the reader interested unless they can immerse themselves in it and relate to the main character or protagonist or root for them out of empathy.

A likable protagonist is likely the most vital character in keeping a reader invested. Readers should want to follow their journey, cheer for them as they overcome adversity, and resist the urge to give up on them if they make a mistake. With the protagonist’s story well-written and their journey interesting, it is much easier to keep a reader engaged throughout the entire book.

In order to write a quality story, the protagonist must be well-developed and relatable to the reader. This means that they must have clear motivations, an interesting backstory, and be complex enough for the reader to feel strongly about them in some way.

If you give your character a name and tell their story, but readers can’t relate to them somehow, you will lose your audience. An engaging story is meaningless without well-written characters.

So we know that a likable protagonist is a key to keeping a reader invested and wanting more but make sure to surround them with a strong, intriguing cast of other prominent and secondary characters as well. Depth is all of these will enhance the story for the reader.

An Original Story

Creating an exciting story that is unique to the author is just as crucial as writing engaging characters. Readers will have a hard time being interested in something they have read or heard of before unless it has been written in an interesting way by the author.

A good story has unique plot points, dialogue, and themes that readers don’t typically see or experience in everyday life.

A well-crafted story needs to have an original twist or variation based on a familiar foundation story. Readers will never find themselves caring about a story if they can already easily predict what happens next or if they have read something like it before.

It is vital that authors find a way to add their own personal touch to an otherwise unimaginative story. A good writer must be able to capture the reader’s interest with something that is both entertaining and unique.

A healthy mix of tension and release

Writing an outstanding story involves not just nonstop action and tension, but also allows for points of release where the reader can take a breath and absorb what has happened so before something else exciting happens.

A good story has to have some sort of balance between lighthearted moments, tension, release and hope. The author needs to be able to create a page-turning plot as well as humorous or hopeful scenes so that readers don’t feel anxious or overly stressed out while reading.

In order to keep readers interested in a story, the writer needs to make sure that there is both tension and release in good balance. There are seldom moments where tension is nonstop in real life, so if a writer doesn’t give the reader some relief, they will probably stop reading altogether.

On the other hand, too much release can make for a boring story, so strike a careful balance. If readers can predict what will happen next without being surprised or anxious, they will stop caring about what is happening in the story and become disengaged.

Unexpected twists and turns

To help make sure that the story is not too predictable, writers need to ensure that there are unexpected plot twists and turns throughout.

This is an integral part of keeping a story engaging and surprising for the reader because it will make sure that they can follow along with what’s going on without being able to predict exactly what will happen next.

Readers generally love when a writer surprises them, whether that means creating a shocking twist or revealing something in a way that they weren’t expecting, as long as it fits appropriately in the context of the story.

Making sure that there are unexpected plot twists and turns throughout the story is another important aspect of a strong plot. Readers want to be able to follow along with what’s going on without being able to predict exactly what will happen next, so adding in a few unexpected plot points is essential.

However, too many twists and turns can make a story feel chaotic and overwhelming, so once again, writers need to strike the delicate balance between predictability and complete unpredictability.

A thrilling ending

Quite likely the most critical part of your book after the opening paragraph is how it ends because that’s what the reader will remember most.

The final words of a story will stay in your reader’s minds long after they have finished reading, so writers need to make sure that what they say and how they say it is satisfying and makes sense within the story’s context.

The writer needs to make sure that the ending is thrilling and memorable rather than disappointing or anticlimactic. In fact, some writers will purposely keep parts of their stories vague so readers can decide on their own how things turn out instead of the writer spelling it all out for them.

Prompting the reader’s imagination is an excellent way to write the final part of your book. Even if there isn’t an actual twist in the last paragraph, it should still make sense and be intriguing enough that they want to keep thinking about it after they’ve finished reading.

Of course, not every story can have a happy ending, and sometimes tragedy is an essential aspect of the story. In those cases, writers need to make sure that what they write is appropriate and fits within the story they are trying to tell so as not to disappoint readers or seem out of place.

When a writer can combine these elements, they have a solid chance at making an extremely engaging, memorable and ultimately satisfying book.

A well-written narrative voice

The narrative voice is the personality of the narrator, so choose wisely when thinking about who your narrating character will be.

An excellent way to think about the tone and voice of a story is by considering what type of movie or TV show it would be like: funny, dramatic, adventure-filled. All those genres require different tones and writing styles so the same goes for books.

Choose a narrative voice that fits within the story you are trying to tell and is appropriate for the type of book that you’re writing.

A well-written narrative voice captures a reader’s attention from beginning to end without being too complicated or confusing. It involves crafting dialogue, setting, characters, and themes so that it doesn’t frustrate readers by being too plain or simple.

Different story types will have different tones and writing styles, so it is important to choose carefully when thinking about your narrating character as this will carry your whole book.

An emotionally thought-provoking book

Even the most fictional off-the-wall story can still be emotionally engaging if done correctly. Readers are looking for authors who can tug at their heartstrings, make them laugh or cry, and get them riled up about things that happen in the fictional world.

A book needs to make the reader feel something in order to be successful and memorable. Readers want to be able to say that they’ve experienced a wide range of emotions while reading.

When readers can relate to characters and events in your book, it helps them get more invested in the story, which creates a better reading experience for them.

They want to feel like they’re experiencing these things together with the characters in your book rather than just watching from the sidelines.

If writers can balance well-written character development and plot structure with an engaging narrative voice, readers will be much more likely to finish your book and remember it.

Fascinating language

Great authors know that every word counts and that writing is not just about putting words down on paper.

By choosing one word over another, a great author can make their text engaging and easy to read.

A good book is one that does not include words or phrases with which the reader is unfamiliar, just for the sake of including them. Most readers are looking for books that are accessible to them, so write in a style that is easy to understand while being descriptive enough to keep the reader interested.

As a result, the proper use of words and syntax is critical to producing a great book.

An enlightening text of any genre is successful when it can transport a reader into another world and make them forget about whatever is happening around them. Great books do this by using language that is both accessible and informative.

Engaging dialogue

Writing dialog can be pretty tricky, especially for a newer author.

For dialogue to be well-written, it should present the reader with information about the characters and their relationships while also revealing what they’re thinking.

There needs to be a balance between what is being said and how it is said for dialogue to be effective.

There is a tendency to put in far too much as a replacement for well-written descriptive text and character development. Dialog should not be used to explain surroundings, for example, unless the character needs to be saying it.

Use dialog sparingly and masterfully to avoid overwhelming your reader. Only use it where necessary and try to show what is happening instead of telling the reader.

On the other hand, make sure to include enough of it for your reader to understand who the characters are through their interactions with each other.

When writing dialogue, keep the reader’s experience in mind. This means that all conversations should sound like actual speech and characters shouldn’t say things for no reason other than to move the plot along.


We all know that what makes “good” book is a fairly personal experience, but the above items are critical for most books. Not caring enough about each of the above items can definitely lead to a less than stellar book.

I hope this article has helped you think about how each of these elements can help you produce enlightening and engaging work!

Remember: there’s no such thing as a perfect book, but it’s essential for you to as an author to strive for the best possible result to leave a lasting impression on your readers.

Incorporating the elements we have discussed today will go a long way towards helping you to create an accessible and enjoyable read for your audience.

What’s next?

Keep practicing your craft, keep reading for pleasure as well as research, and never stop learning! The more effort you put into writing, the better writer you will be.

Good luck with your writing and have a fantastic day! Tell us how you are doing in the comments below.

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