reading · Writing

No Plot? No Problem?: What You Like In A Book

The book No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty poses this question: What, to you, makes a good novel?

This is supposed to a pre-NaNo list, and this is probably a bit late. Not only am I deep into my NaNo, but so are a lot of other people.

But I like the question and even if I wasn’t doing NaNo, it is still good to answer it, huh? Or come as close as I can.

  1. vivid description
  2. interesting characters
  3. good world-building
  4. interesting premise (i.e. something that doesn’t make think: Oh, it is like that book/movie/show)
  5. at least one character I would love to follow through the whole book/series.

Having made this list, I realize one thing: plot isn’t in this list.

Oh, yes, I say something about premise. But that’s vague and could be almost anything really.

The books that I remember, that I talk most about, are the ones with something else.

When I tell people about the Anita Blake books, I say: Anita Blake raises zombies for a living. Sometimes they are used for legal issues, wills and insurance, even criminal cases. She also kills vampires, but they are legal, so she needs a court order before she can kill them. I also tell them to avoid the later books, just stick with the first 8 or 9.

I say nothing about the plot. Well, those things could be plot points (and are sometimes) but I almost never describe a whole plot to someone.

So I guess plot isn’t all that not important to me in the books I read. That is just such an odd thought.

Does anyone else describe books like that to other people?