What do you like to find in your novels?

  • Well, I wasn't sure what to use as title but—I ended up with this...
    What I wanna attempt to talk about is, ultimately, a bit vague, hence my indecisiveness about the title.
    It's not about setting or genres but more about what makes a novel memorable to you.
    Is it the characters, the dialog, the raw moments of emotions, the incidences where you find as if the text spills your own heart instead of the characters', when you can see the harsh reality expressed in the organized lines, or maybe when you can find comfort away from reality into the world of these characters?

    Well, for me, there are various things attracts me to a novel.

    1. Like I am attracted to LN mainly due to the fact that their stories are usually character-driven.
    2. I prefer it when I find the stories dealing with issues, or emotions I can understand or have MC or characters I can relate to (Like Monogatari and Oregairu).
    3. I also like reading things that has commentary on various problems (that's why something like Welcome to N.H.K. is quite interesting to me)
    4. I tend to be more interested in the works with philosophy, psychological elements that try and speak harsh reality or real life than ones that create a fictional immersive world—where life is easier. (But sometimes, I have some incompatibilities like I had issues with Kazuo Ishiguro's "An Artist of the Floating World" 'cause the illogical national pride that was installed in Narrator/MC's early words)
    5. Even though, I say this, it doesn't mean I hate light reads—after all, I am huge fan of SOL, CGDCT and Romcoms—I just tend to be interested in more dark titles than light ones.
    6. What I call "raw moments of emotions" is moment when the characters just open up.
      A good example, from my recent reads, would be something like in "Toradora vol.1"—

    7) Another thing would be intellectually interesting:

    • It can be by unreliable or lying narrator like Zaregoto's Ii-chan or Monogatari's Kaiki
    • Presenting psychological, philosophical or social commentaries like George Orwell's 1984
    • Mystery
    • Non-linear narration (either by switching narrators or jumping around within the timeline)

    —So what about you?

  • Staff

    A fun and enjoyable read.

    -Rahul Balaggan

  • Premium Member

    A story that flows smoothly with characters that capture my interest.

  • Premium Member

    I tend to like:

    1. Memorable male lead.

    2. Characters that I don't want to see die (and in turn, a real threat that often they could die from).

    3. Shipping (especially if it is more than just the main dude shipping with gals; also, when the true pairing isn't spoiled by the cover)

    4. Twists

    5. Pseudoscience

    This doesn't mean your book has to have all of these, but if it does have a few of them, I'm locked in and interested.

    For memorable male lead, I kind of mentioned before, I like when my preconceptions about a character from the way they look are wrong, or from the way a story typically goes they go against the grain. Our lovable introspective hero Haruhiro, our surprisingly more unusual in skill than the title character Yuichi Sakaki, and the "I want to go home, screw off king" Suimei.

    There's more superfluous stuff. Like, I like when a male + female lead are cool, dark haired characters. Just something about those pairings I like. White Album 2. Ever17 route. Witchcraft Works.

    I tend to like older characters too (Office life, college life).

  • Member

    @BloodyGaikotsu That's a really interesting question.

    If I had to image an epic LN volume it would be a high fantasy d&d adventure. A quest to conquer a dungeon filled with traps, magic, orcs, goblins, skeletons, maybe even a necromancer boss sprinkled with lore and world building. To make it perfect please also include good character development, and maybe a betrayal or two along the way.

    If it is an isekai or not it is not important as long is a fantasy setting.
    No preference for Male or Female protagonist but I do most often dislike OP protagonist.

  • Premium Member

    I most enjoy fun dialogue between characters, a good mix between tension and relief, and creative/ingenious elements that feel fresh and/or clever. When done well it will make me wish I had been the one to think up the storyline, write the dialogue, conceive of the characters and setting, and to skilfully weave it all together.

  • Member

    Personally, I'd gobble up any fantasy (Yes, IMHO I won't count out reincarnation from fantasy but these days they're so rampant that I'd be forgiven for mixing the two).

    But what really pulls me in if it's something I've never seen done before or characters that is different from the other stereotypical leads.

    For example, lately I've been looking at FUNA's works like Average Life & Saving for Retirement. I just love how their story is different from what I've read and there's something about the fact that the lead is female that made it all the more interesting.

    I don't have any beef with male leads but a lot of them tend to gather enormous amount of female followings in a very short amount of time with the most whimsical reasons. It was fun at first - very fun indeed („ಡωಡ„). But now I just sweep it under the rug, move on and accept it as something inevitable when it happens.

    Well, that was long and winded but my point is - female leads. That's all what I'm looking for these days in my fantasy novel. And I love JNC for picking up Bakarina and Beast Head. That had me jumping for joy ;)

  • @terrence I'm agree with you on all those. Those are my favorite type of LNs.

  • Premium Member

    Well, a lot of these things are things I like in stories in general, but anyway...

    • As I've mentioned several places, I tend to like lighthearted, slice-of-life works. That said, what I'm really looking for is the type of story where it feels like you're living life alongside the characters. So having a strong cast of characters is critical.
    • Well, all it really means is that good characters are what I really look for in all stories.
    • I also like stories with strong worldbuilding. This is especially important for fantasy stories; I like to read those for the feeling of adventure from visiting new places and learning more about them. This includes isekai, of course; after all, my favorite fictional work is The Chronicles of Narnia, which is overall really good at this sort of "adventure fantasy" and is technically an isekai, to boot.
    • Speaking of isekai, though, I like seeing the various ways in which elements of our modern world mesh with that of a typical fantasy world. It's why I find stories like Realist Hero and Outbreak Company particularly fun.
    • Overpowered protagonists in general are neither particularly interesting nor boring to me, but what is interesting is when the protagonist has a specific skill that he/she must manipulate in creative ways, and in doing so becomes "overpowered" in particular ways. Examples of this include Mixed Bathing and Gear Drive.
    • One theme I particularly like to see come up in stories of all sorts is "family", especially that which goes beyond that of lovers. For example, I particularly like it when characters end up having to take care of children (see: Foll from Elf Bride and the first 3 volumes of For My Daughter).
    • Of course, one can always just make a novel that is simply utterly hilarious. Sometimes all I need is a good laugh.

  • This post is deleted!

  • Premium Member

    Honestly, I'm open to almost anything as long as the story or characters (preferably both) interest me but these are what I particularly like:

    1. Romcoms set in our world like Toradora and A Sister's All You Need. I'm supporting those as well as Kokoro Connect because that genre of light novels is severely lacking over here although it has improved since last year.

    2. Military/war/strategy.

    3. Historical/alternative history/futuristic setting.

    4. Politics/political upheaval.

    I have a real soft spot for any combination of #2-4, which is why Legend of the Galactic Heroes is an all-time favorite for me because it has all three but I've been enjoying The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Master of Ragnarok, and Realist Hero because they have some of those elements too. I'm looking forward to 86 for those reasons as well. It's also why Alderamin on the Sky and Lord Marksman are my top 2 license requests.

  • Member

    True harem and OP main character

  • Well, I asked this question for 2 reasons.
    I was kinda curious what makes something really memorable to other people and what makes people interested in title to pick (without watching its adapatations).

    Like there's distinct difference between a title you like and title you just can't forget—what we call favorites.

    For me, these unforgettable titles are the one that makes me contemplate something or feel all kind of emotions.

    I might enjoy Konosuba, but I won't really say it's something I'll annoyingly recommend to everyone or I won't forget about it after years of its final volume.
    On the other hand—after reading Zaregoto 2, I'll definitely be really pushy and annoying about it.
    Even though, I was reading it during a lecture (lol), I remember feeling crushing pain in my chest, and contemplating the main character, and understanding a bit of it through myself and the other way around holds as true.
    I wonder if my expressions betrayed all the emotions I felt while I was reading.
    The mystery's resolution and solution ended up urging me to re-read the book and rethink it.

    I was searching for that distinct line—between a nice read and favorite read—for other people.

    Tbh, with the first two replies, I thought I was overcomplicate stuff.

  • Staff

    @bloodygaikotsu said in What do you like to find in your novels?:

    Tbh, with the first two replies, I thought I was overcomplicate stuff.

    To add just a tiny bit more to my initial post:

    I really don’t look for anything in particular, no specific trope or genre, no character traits or plots.

    I just want to consume all forms of media regardless of anything that may be inside ( I don’t care how controversial it can get, the author can outright name drop me personally and wish for my untimely demise and I wouldn’t bat an eye), as long as the author can hold my attention, while seamlessly meshing together a story that I would call “good” I will be content.

    So I will read anything in the hopes that at the end I can say it was a fun and enjoyable read.

  • Premium Member

    @bloodygaikotsu If there's one element that distinguishes a "nice" story from a "favorite" for me, it's that something in that story resonates with me on a personal level. That resonance can come in many forms, from a character I especially relate to, to a particular element in the setting that I particularly attach myself to, to a message or storyline that meshes so well with my faith and beliefs that I feel like I have to blog about it. It's that moment of personal attachment that makes a story "memorable" to me.

    The thing is, with a few exceptions, this sort of personal resonance is not something I actively look for. In fact, I've found that if I try to actively look for personal resonance in a story, I'll more often than not end up disappointed. Even in the rare cases where I start a story because its premise sounds like something that will resonate with me (the "family" themes I mentioned before definitely fit that), I find it's usually better to not think too much about that and just enjoy that story for what it is, letting the resonant moments hit me naturally instead of trying to force it out of the story.

    And, of course, not every story needs to be so personally resonant, and I can enjoy many stories just for what they are, without it needing to mean a lot to me.

    So while personal resonance are what define a "favorite" for me, I don't actively look for it. I look for the other things I mentioned--the things that make for a story I'd enjoy generally but might not make it a favorite--with the hopes that, along the way, something happens that resonates with me.

  • @terrence

    For memorable male lead

    For me, memorable male lead comes from how distinct his voice (as narrator) or how much his emotions and thoughts align with mine.
    Like I can't forget characters like Hachiman, Oreki, Arararagi (Kamimashita), Ii-chan,....and maybe, just maybe I might not forget how savage Kazuma is (but I slightly doubt it).

    Characters that I don't want to see die (and in turn, a real threat that often they could die from).

    Better than real threat is when you just know they will die and they torture you with transient happy moments. (But dunno if you are a fellow M fella or not lol)


    Ain't sure what you mean there.
    like actual pseudoscience or fictional science rules created by the series?

    I tend to like older characters too (Office life, college life).

    Kinda explains many of your requested licences that I didn't get why you would be seeing it uniquely interesting...
    Even though, I can't understand getting interested in something 'cause character's age or physical attributes.


    When I think of such dialogs, I always think of NisiOisiN and Spice & Wolf (Actually, every time I read smth by NisiOisiN, I feel like I wanna write something too)


    Is FUNA work that different (or interesting)?
    I just read the synopsis and it doesn't hook me on anything.
    (Actually, at some point, majority of Isekai synopsis sounds really similar and unattractive or unimaginative to me. Basically, they all started to sound all to me with exceptions ofc like I am interested in Bakarina)


    Romcoms set in our world like Toradora and A Sister's All You Need. I'm supporting those as well as Kokoro Connect because that genre of light novels is severely lacking over here although it has improved since last year.

    I am getting Toradora (even tho, it's not my favorite Romcom mainly to support the genre)
    Well, I won't call A Sister's All You Need or Kokoro Connect strictly or loosely romcoms (tbh).
    But I sure love these stories [coming of age or teen drama—one of the reasons why I love Monogatari and Sakurasou(Anime, haven't read the novels yet)]


    Tbh, due to my character, I end up loving war drama but not so much into actual war series which don't have any political or social commentaries (like if it's just war and cool strategies, it won't catch my attention for long)

    I'm looking forward to 86 for those reasons as well.

    For me, I'm looking forward to it 'cuz it sounded like a good setting for dystopian and heart-breaking story.
    (which I find it funny; one series—but two different reasons to look out for it)

    Lately, I have been trying to ask myself why I love what I love, and what does this mean?
    A self-analysis of some sort—you may say.
    So, I wondered what about other people.

    So, that was very informative.
    Well, personal resonance is one of the basic reasons for anyone to love a story, hence I find that it might be able to understand people better through their own favorites.

  • @rahul-balaggan
    So, you don't have any titles that you hold them levels dearer than anything else?

  • Staff

    @bloodygaikotsu Not particularly, even on my own "top 10" list the whole list is very interchangeable, #10 could shoot up to #1 if it put out a very good and enjoyable volume, whereas #1 would fall off the whole list if the author started doing crazy stuff that doesn't connect to where the story has been going.

    My view on books is but 2 extremes either it is a "good" book or a "bad" book, and that solely depends on how well the story is constructed, supported, and held together to be a comprehensive, fun and enjoyable read.

  • Premium Member

    Yeah, I kinda grouped Toradora, A Sister's All You Need, and Kokoro Connect into one category to say in general I want more light novels set in our world and preferably with little to no fantasy or supernatural elements; just a straight comedy, romance, drama, or any combination thereof set at a school, workplace, or home. Coming of age and teen drama included. I'm really looking forward to Classroom of the Elite for example. No isekai, no reincarnation, no fantasy, no sci-fi, and no supernatural.

  • Premium Member

    @bloodygaikotsu said in What do you like to find in your novels?:

    Ain't sure what you mean there.
    like actual pseudoscience or fictional science rules created by the series?

    Both. But in particular, Pseudoscience like is featured in a lot of visual novels (particularly Zero Escape: 999, Steins;Gate, and Ever17). Stuff like telepathy, time travel hypotheses, cloning techniques, artificial intelligence, experimental mutation / virus production, new elements (Ice 9). I like when the plot explains things with pseudoscience in a way that makes you think bizarre stuff is possible (or at least possible for their world).

    For instance, 999 introduces you pretty early to concepts you question the validity of like

    Magical rules and laws of physics that are explained in detail can be cool too, and kind of go hand in hand with that.

    I like older characters because I like romance to go places beyond just simple crushes or blushing (cohabitation, marriage, divorce, affairs, etc), and I do like seeing a writer's attempt to paint the situation for working / out of work adults in Japan. There's mature storylines you obviously can't do with teens either (or at least are tough to do, like anything with drugs or alcohol).

    And there's obviously the sex appeal aspect of adult characters, which I'd be lying if I tried denying (there's more to like than that of course as mentioned above).

Log in to reply