We have all done it, set down eagerly to read a new book and come away disappointed after the first few pages. It is not easy to create a gripping tale, but when an author gets it right, the result is priceless. This got me thinking about the characteristics that are actually found in a really great book, one that keeps you on the edge of your comfortable seat and reduces your ability to do anything else with your day.
I would argue that the mark of a great novel is that it entertains you from the first page. It grabs hold of your imagination and reels you in with every word, not letting go until the last sentence. As a writer, this is not something that you can easily learn how to do, but is rather a skill that comes naturally, like being able to read people’s reactions in partypoker and seeing through their bluffs. When a writer is able to grab your attention, you will get that type of rush that is often quite hard to find.
A great work of fiction should also be able to surprise you. You don’t want to be reading something that is predictable and boring, as it will lose its entertainment value. So a good few twists and turns that will keep readers interested is ideal.
Also important in a good page-turner is the ability to talk about it with friends. First of all, it should give you something to talk about, such as interesting new ideas or a controversial event. The more it makes you want to talk about it, the better it is at capturing your attention. It is the books that we share with others that have truly made it into our minds.