I spent a little while today thinking about what factors make a book awesome. What things does a book have to have for me to really want to recommend it to other people? A few things immediately popped into my mind:
World Building: I love details about the world in which the story is set. I love lush settings, stark settings, futuristic settings, historical settings, contemporary settings, you name it- what I need are DETAILS. I want to be able to see the world in my head.
Convincing Backstory: I like to know why the characters are doing the things that they do. Sad backstory is fine, happy backstory is fine, but ultimately I don't like to be surprised by things that have happened that are important. No infodumps, please- pacing is important too.
Deal With Your Issues: This one is especially important if one of the characters has a particularly traumatic backstory. Bad things happen sometimes, and I get that, but we don't need pages and pages and pages of angst as we relive the moment again and again. The best books I've read give the information and move on; it comes up at relevant times but isn't used to fill space.
Excellent Dialogue: I don't mind extended dialogues between characters, as long as they're inspired, paced well, and hold my interest. Well done arguments or snarky conversations, double entendre, flirtations- it's all good. I think dialogue is one area where really excellent writers flex their muscles.
What about you? What story elements make your heart go thump?
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