13 Essential Elements of a Great Novel

Andrew Wood
4 min readFeb 24, 2024

I have just published my 51st book although only the last eight have been novels. During this journey I have read a great many books on novel writing, taken all the Masterclasses available, and done still more on on the BBC’s version. In adidtion I have paid thousands of dollars to coaches.

Here’s what I have learned:

Every great novel is a masterpiece of storytelling, weaving together a tapestry of characters, plot twists, and thematic depth to captivate readers and leave a lasting impression.

Let’s try and uncover the secrets behind crafting a truly remarkable novel. Drawing on timeless principles of literature and storytelling, I’ll explore thirteen essential elements that contribute to the success of some of the greatest works of fiction. From compelling characters and engaging plots to vivid settings and thematic depth, these elements serve as the building blocks of literary greatness. Whether you’re an aspiring writer seeking to hone your craft or a passionate reader eager to dissect the inner workings of your favorite novels, join me as we delve into the art and science of crafting greatness in the world of literature.

  1. Compelling Characters: Memorable characters who are well-developed, relatable, and undergo growth or change throughout the story can deeply resonate with readers.
  2. Engaging Plot: A well-structured and engaging plot that keeps readers hooked from beginning to end, with twists, turns, and unexpected developments that maintain suspense and momentum.
  3. Vivid Setting: A richly detailed and immersive setting that transports readers to another time or place, evoking a strong sense of atmosphere and ambiance.
  4. Strong Voice: A distinctive narrative voice that captures the tone and style of the story, whether it’s through lyrical prose, sharp wit, or intimate confessions.
  5. Emotional Resonance: The ability to evoke a range of emotions in readers, from joy and laughter to sadness and empathy, creating a deep emotional connection to the story and its characters.
  6. Thematic Depth: Exploration of universal themes and ideas that provoke thought and reflection, offering insight into the human condition and the complexities of life.



Andrew Wood

Author & Marketing Legend with over 50 books :I write on: Marketing, Travel, Sales, Success, Biz, Leadership, Golf, Autos, Books, Events www.AndrewWoodInc.com