3 Elements of a Good book

by Michelle Griep

As I was just about dozing off to sleep last night, hubby elbows me and asks, “Hey, how do you write a good book? What are the top 3 elements?”

I replied with a snore, hoping he’d think I was sleeping.

He nudged me again. Gah! So, rather than discussing the building blocks of a great story at midnight, I told him I’d do a blog post on it.
How’s that for a segue? Yeah, kind of lame, but it’s the best one I’ve got and I did promise him, so here we go, kids. Buckle up and strap on your helmet.
Top 3 Elements of a Good Book

1. Connect at an emotional level.

All authors and readers have one thing in common: they’re human. Humans have emotions. I don’t care if you gargle with razor blades just for fun because you’re tough. Unless you’re a psychopath, you will cry if you see a puppy kicked to death. A good book will crack you open and play a tune on your heartstrings, leaving a mark long after you’ve closed the cover.

2. Freshen things up.

Good story writing makes a reader finish a book. Great story writing makes a reader sit up and beg for more. How do you go from good to great? Describe mundane things in a fresh, new way. Don’t tell me the man had rotten teeth, tell me that his teeth looked as if he dipped them in mouse-colored velvet. Eew! Now there’s a word picture you won’t soon forget.

3. Twist the plot.

Would you like to wake up every morning for five years and eat oatmeal? I’m guessing not. Why? Because no one likes predictability (or I suppose there is the off-chance that you don’t like oatmeal, either). Surprise is the name of the game, baby. Readers love it when a curve ball in the plot throws them off balance, something they didn’t see coming.

Think about one of your favorite books. See if you can identify these three elements in it. Here’s an example fro my all-time favorite book:

JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte

1. Emotional Level

I connect with her because she’s a fiercely independent individual yet gives in to moments of self-doubt.

2. Fresh Prose

“Jane, be still; don’t struggle so like a wild, frantic bird, that is rending its own plumage in its desperation.”

Love that she’s compared to a frantic bird. I can see that image in my mind.

3. Plot Twist

I did not expect Mr. Rochester to get blinded, and who knew that Bertha was up in the attic? Oops. Hope I didn’t ruin this one for you.

So there you have it. If you want to write a good book, incorporate those three elements and you’ll connect a deep level with your reader.


3 Elements of a Good book by Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)

Good Books connect at an emotional level.~ Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)

Readers love it when a curve ball in the plot throws them off balance.~ Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)

Author Michelle Griep


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.

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