I realize this is a topic that has been addressed numerous times, but it’s become such a huge part of how I read, that I wanted to share things I look for. It provides for reading entertainment as well as learning from people who have gotten to where I’m journeying toward with my first novel, The Inheritance–published. Ten things I look for in a book are:
1.) POV–Does the writer use first person, placing themselves as the main character, third person, seeing through the viewpoint of the main character, omniscient, which is a God-like presence who seems to know what everyone in the novel is thinking, or multiple viewpoint characters. If there are multiple viewpoint characters, how does the author transition between the characters whose eyes I’m seeing from? How would the novel read if it were written from a different POV?
2.) How the characters relate to each other. Is there enough tension? Is the tension resolved in a way that leaves me satisfied, but not too soon? Do the characters suffer and hurt so that I feel for them and they become real?
3.) Sentence structure in non-fiction vs. fiction–Does the author use complete sentences, fragments, long or short sentences, and when is each used successfully?
4.) Does the book leave me wanting more, or am I flipping through several pages at a time, eager to be done so I can start something else?
5.) Does it grab my attention immediately and disperse enough action to hold my attention, or are there dead areas where I find myself planning what to make for dinner as I’m reading?
6.) Does it flow easily or do I find myself having to re-read the same paragraph a few times to figure out where I got lost?
7.) Are the characters believable? And what about the protagonist–is s/he likable?
8.) Does it appeal to the social, intellectual, emotional aspects of life or does the author relay any strong values?
9.) Do the scene descriptions create a clear visual in my mind?
10.) And last but not least, does the author use boring cliché’s or fresh word combinations?
Happy Reading! 🙂