Three Ways to Improve Your Novel Instantly

People read novels primarily for entertainment. Young people are particularly discerning – if the book they are reading doesn’t hold their interest, they will put it down. So, especially because we are writing Christian novels for a reason, we need to keep our readers gripped.

girl reading

Here are three ways to add the grip factor to your story:

1. Improve Your Plot. Is your story full of hilarious antics, terrible accidents, fearsome baddies, dangerous journeys? What if Harry Potter didn’t have to go through all those hair-raising adventures? What if Beth had lived, in Little Women? Consider your own novel: do you have chapters where nothing much happens? Where could you make it more emotional? More exciting, frightening, heart-rending, funny or surprising?

2. Improve Your Characters. This is, of course, closely bound up with the previous point, but are your characters as interesting as they could be? Are they fascinating, engaging, courageous, quirky, or make us feel sorry for them? Do they have an intriguing back-story? Could you give them an extra power to make them more interesting?

3. Improve Your Setting. Is your setting interesting? Is it the best place to set your novel? If your story is set in a school, could it be in a school in Oman, Japan, or South Africa? Or could you set it in a school in the past, or the future, or on a fictional island? (Could it be inhabited by beasts?) If you are writing a creepy story, have you chosen the best possible setting for creepiness? A cave, a dungeon, or a fantasy world?* If you are writing romance, do you have the most romantic setting possible (or the least romantic setting you can think of :-))?

Sometimes when you write your story, you have to be bolder than you would in real life! I know it depends on the style of novel you are writing, but you can make things infinitely better or infinitely worse than real life, in books, if you are writing to entertain . . .

So avoid the banal; go for awesome!

Please share this post if you like it – then get to action on your novel . . . 🙂

Janet Wilson, founder of Dernier Publishing and Write for a Reason
Janet Wilson, founder of Dernier Publishing and Write for a Reason

See you next week,


* We are looking at building fictional worlds in the Membership Programme next month – if you would like to join us, please click here.


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