Engrossing elements: 5 things that make a stellar contemporary fiction novel


Contemporary fiction is a style consisting of apparently real people in real world events. Contemporary fiction has become hugely popular for its ability to place the reader in the characters’ shoes, detailing their lives and motivations in the process.

But what makes an awesome contemporary fiction novel, one that the reader can’t put down and could even inspire them to create their own masterpiece?

Here are the elements of contemporary fiction books Australia and its readers can’t put down for an instant:

  1. A solid opening

Nothing is more disappointing than a novel that opens without anything exciting happening. Reading, whilst pleasurable, should never become a task, and your reader should never have to sift through chapters and chapters of monotony to reach the juicy stuff.

An outstanding opening should introduce your main character, their motivations and what they stand to win (or lose) throughout the course of the novel. This is also a chance to define your novel’s genre, detailing the genre’s elements that make it a contemporary fiction novel as opposed to, say, historical fiction.

  1. Your own style

You may find it hard to believe, but literary fans across the world can tell when a style has been bitten. Sure, you can take inspiration from some of your favourite authors, tweaking and twisting their style to develop your own as you become a better author, but you should also do everything possible to distance your style from your heroes.

This is all part of developing your own skills as a writer. Of course, every writer has heroes, and would love nothing more than to at least emulate their skill and talent, but biting one’s style is a surefire way to have your novel turned down and admonished in the process.

  1. Top class characters

No contemporary fiction novel can survive a full reading without great characters. An amazing, interesting main character, as well as secondary characters, have the ability to resonate with or repel the reader, with either side of the spectrum working to propel the novel.

Your characters should not only be refined and rendered in a manner that details their lives and motivations, but they should give a clear view of who your character is and their values, interests, personal history etc.

  1. An awesome premise

Think of some of the great premises in literary history. Let’s try, The Great Gatsby, where an enigmatic playboy seeks to reignite a flame from his past, with all kinds of twists and tragedies along the way.

A pretty engrossing premise, hey? And it comes as no surprise that The Great Gatsby has held up as one of history’s most revered masterpieces and has been adapted countless times in film and stage.

This should give you an idea of the importance of an incredible premise. If you’re unable to sum up an awesome plot within the space of at least a small handful of sentences – your plot could be in trouble.

You want to be able to sell that story to publishers in that very same way, and you will find this when you begin pitching to publishers, so be sure that your premise is bold, engaging and new – it will give you the energy and invigoration to develop like crazy.

  1. Research

Contemporary fiction novels are typically set in real world situations and often play upon actual events. If you are going to write a contemporary fiction novel with real-world situations, ensure that you have done your research – it will turn an otherwise flawed novel into a rich, sumptuous and relatable work of art.

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