Novel Musings — What I Want From a Novel

Here we are again.

It has been a while since I have graced you all with my presence. But I thought this was the perfect time to talk about what I want from a novel.

Have you ever asked yourself what it is that you want from a novel?

I have. You know what I answered with? A bloody 500 word essay on what I want. It began as what I want from a novel and gradually deteriorated into a stinking pile of what I want from life. Here’s a revised version—less of a stinking pile, well, less of a pile—of my answer.

When I think about what I want from a book, I think of one thing: emotion. I want to feel something. For shit’s sake, give me something to think about and make me care! I ultimately want a novel with meaning. True meaning. Something that grabs you by the heart muscle and tears it out. Kinda. No, okay maybe not tearing it out. But you get the picture: a novel that makes you feel.

Now, isn’t that all we ever strive for? To feel something? To feel anything at all? To reassure ourselves that we are indeed human, that we do indeed have the capacity for normal human emotion? Personally, I answer yes to all.

Yes, I am a guy. Yes, I bottle up emotion. But no, no, no we don’t have to hide our emotions. We, as humans, are allowed to feel something, we are allowed to admit that some scene—whether it be from a movie, book, television program or, hell, even if it was from viewing that dirty, twisted… Newspaper article—had an impact upon us, that it almost brought us to tears.

Who gives a shit if it did?

Actually, you should be happy that you were brought to tears, welcome to being human!

That’s not to say that to be human you must cry every night. Rather, try to embrace whatever feelings are evoked from the depths of your emotionally-fortified self.

This musing on life and emotion has led me to uncover the three main themes I want to weave into my first novel. Three themes that will hopefully make the reader feel something. These are: loss, love and inevitability.

Thoughts, comments, abuse or whatever else you want to lay on my doormat, are welcome in the comments below.