« Foxes | Main | Magritte Joke »

Three Basic Elements of a Novel

Broadly, there are three basic elements that a novel can contain: narrative, ideas and prose. Novelists can still flourish within different markets if their essential talent is storytelling (Jeffrey Archer), thinking (John Berger) or crafting sentences (John Updike), but it is exceptionally rare for an author to have the gift of all three: John le Carré is the primary example. Crichton was unusual in a genre obsessed with narrative in also being fascinated by ideas, but his prose, a bare and sometimes ugly scaffolding for the facts and twists, held him back from higher literary standing: one reason that The Andromeda Strain is the most accomplished of his books is that it is deliberately written in the neutral tone of science reporting.

Mark Lawson, here, as quoted by Emma Darwin, here.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.