I seem to be on a lifelong quest to read the "perfect" novel. This mental image I have is so picky, that everything I read falls short. But still, I try.
Today, Jon's blog on Essential Novels, (he's JVZ at Erica's blog, and has just started up his own) reminded me of my quest.
And I wondered? What would be your perfect novel, the dream novel that would be your "perfect" reading experience?
- What genre?
- What length?
- What style of writing? Lyrical? Edgy? Aggressive? Poetic?
- What kind of pacing? Fast? Slow? A Mixture?
- One POV? Multi-POV?
- First Person? Third Person?
- Lots of subplots? Just a few?
- Single tone? Ups and downs? Funny? Happy? Sad?
- What kind of themes?
- What else? What's in your perfect novel?
If I could mix John Irving, Neil Gaiman, and Charlotte Bronte (maybe a wee bit of Dickens, too), you might come close. I love the 19th century novel, the exploration of a childhood through adulthood, like the novels of Irving, Bronte, and Dickens.
I love the Fiction that requires the suspension of disbelief like Irving and Gaiman. Third allows for more POV and a more complex plot. I love layers. I get bored with too much lyricism; every word must matter. I love aggressive voices that sort of punch at you.
I like the pacing of sentences and paragraphs to be rhythmic, playing off the rhythm of the plot and scenes. A good portion of the characters should have emotional arcs.
I love complex plots. I love tightly woven, interweaving subplots. I love beginnings and middles that hook like crazy to ends and middles.
I love books that sweep me onto a roller coaster ride. I love bigger than life heroes, mythical heroes, who make sacrifices that just make you want to bawl your eyes out.
I love to be inspired at the end. I love a sort of book that makes me feel like I can conquer the world when I'm done reading it. I love a book that manages an "epic" sort of feel, without getting bogged down with too many words.
Okay, so what's your "perfect" novel like? And which book has come the closest, for you? Have you tried writing it? Oddly, I don't believe I have.