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What do Succesful Books Have in Common?

When I think of awesome and successful book series a few names come to mind.

  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians
  • The Hunger Games
  • The Divergent Series
  • Eragon
  • Lord of the Rings
  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Twilight
  • The Mortal Instruments Series
  • The Harry Potter Series
  • And the Lunar Chronicles.
For the past few weeks I've been sort of stuck in my writing. That always happens to me after I finish a book that I was particularly pumped about. I invested months into the plot, the world and the characters and I sort of become stuck in my ways so when I start searching for a new idea, for new characters to fall in love with I often jump from story to story only to run out of steam in the first fifteen pages. So it got me thinking: What makes a book so successful? What do all of these books have in common?
I believe 100% that there's no secret formula to creating an amazing book that everyone loves. I can guarantee that there are people who aren't into the Percy Jackson books or can't stand Twilight. Actually, I couldn't get through The Mortal Instruments or Divergent and I couldn't finish the Eragon series either. That doesn't mean that there aren't dozens of other people who love those books. But how did these books get so popular? Why do so many love them? Is there something that they all have in common or are the writers just doing something right? Well I came up with a list of four things they all have in common:

  • Independent, unique main characters and side characters. They have diverse backstories, opinions and personalities that sometimes clash. Each character has their own goals, desires and wants that can sometimes work against the protagonist.

  • Well thought out plots with twists and turns that are wholly character driven. The authors did a lot of world building and character building to make the plots have depth and in each book the plot tests the protagonist over and over again, pushing them to their limits.

  • Most of them have clear cut villains. Well done villains but still most them have face for their antagonist. The Lunar Chronicles has Levana, Percy Jackson has Kronos, and The Hunger Games as President Snow. The villains also don't idly stand by while the protagonist wins all the glory or tries to take them down. Levana, Kronos and President Snow all get their hands dirty even in round about ways to try to defeat the protagonist.

  • And then there's the writing. Personally I don't think Divergent or The Mortal Instruments are well written but I would say that the rest of them are even though there have been readers that said Twilight or Eragon was horribly written. Everyone has a different opinion but either way the writing in each of these books is at least half way decent if not brilliant. All the writers of these books were one hundred percent invested in their work and put their best foot forward.
Those are the things that I see when I look at these books and I plan to apply each of these to my own writing if I haven't already.


What do you think? What makes a good and widely popular book so popular?

Comments

  1. I think the fact that all these books have a group of people (some have thousands some have only a few) coming together to stand by echother ....I think that's extremely appealing and gives us a sense of unity :)

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