Is it the prose?
Not really unless your into those things. After having a moment of insecurity and wondering if my stories have what it takes to be latched onto by the readers, I googled the question: ‘What makes a good book?’
Turns out, it’s all about the feels, man!
The first link that appears is a list of people saying that they want good content, to learn something, and to go on a fun adventure. But how do you achieve this? Most people will read a book and think of it as a whole entity, not deconstruct singular elements. That can make things difficult when you want to know the exact ingredients on how to create a good book.
To start to understand that it’s human emotions that is the umbrella of a good story, you need to understand people. People are driven primarily by their feelings, we are emotional creatures. We love, grieve, seek out pleasure, get envious of others. Yes, there is also a logical component as well, but unfortunately, that comes second.
So by looking at emotions, we need to look at what goes into them. Sometimes it’s relatable characters in situations that we may never realistically encounter. It’s people going through a change that changes them. It’s enjoying the adventure because reading is a safe activity. It’s learning something with the character. That’s what people look for in a good book.
This is where the more technical aspects come in. You also need to be competent, though not the best, in your sentence structure and grammar. If you as an author cannot explain clearly what you are writing, then your readers will not know either. You need to know things like where this storyline going? Where will it end? What scenes go in what order. How are your characters changing?
In my opinion, I’m starting to think that this part of the book creation is given the wrong type of attention. Articles on the web go on about the structure of scenes and your grammar etc, but it only works when lumped with a storyline with all the feels.
Remember this. Perfectly composed sentences do nothing for a boring book. But average sentence structure describing how your character gets thrown under the bus will keep the wheels moving.