A few threads tie all types of novels together. Consider the following important aspects of every genre novel.
- Plot Resolution—every genre puts forth a plot that requires resolution; the ending is not left for a reader to wonder about—the conflicts and dilemmas of the story are always solved. The mystery is solved, the romance is happily resolved, the suspense protagonist always escapes, etc.
- Likable Protagonist—the genre novel always revolves around a likable character, one that can be admired even as a flawed human being. Perhaps some of their flaws add to their admirability. For example, the recurring detective, Harry Bosch, in Michael Connelly’s novels is stubborn and determined. But its part of what makes him a good detective. Flaws also make the character more relatable to readers. Still, the main character will have more admirable qualities like integrity, courage, intelligence, compassion, etc.
- Justice—in a genre’s final analysis, there is typically some element of justice. Good triumphs over evil, the underdog wins, wrongdoers are stopped, caught or killed. There is some achievement, accomplishment or triumph.
- Emotional Impact—every genre carries an emotional impact. If not, why would anyone read it? The novel must pack some sort of emotional stirring that is consistent within its genre. Consider the following:
- a romance novel will evoke feelings of desire
- a horror novel will evoke fear
- a mystery novel will evoke curiosity
- a suspense novel will evoke the thrill of the chase
When a reader selects a book to read in their favorite genre, this emotional impact is something they count on.
- Entertainment—a genre novel should be fun and entertaining within its type. Entertaining means that the reader can’t put the book down, they are stimulated and provoked into turning pages. The reader picks up the novel with the expectation that it will provide an entertaining story, perhaps even help them escape to other places, people, and lives for a bit. Make it happen!
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