What Makes a Book Interesting? – The Key Qualities

Have you ever come across a book that was so profoundly fascinating that it was difficult to put down, and you just wanted to know what would happen next? If you’re reading this article, this might have happened to you before, and you probably only had a vague idea of what made it so captivating. It all comes down to a few elements when investigating what makes one book more interesting than the other.

What makes a book interesting include resonance, a great plot, well-written characters, a great writing style, education on a subject, feeling, and growth and change. These aspects would make the readers invested in the story and interested in discovering what happens next.

In the rest of the article, I’ll focus on the different qualities of an exciting book and explain them in detail.

Qualities of an Exciting Book

An exciting book makes you exclude everything else in your life, including meals. So what makes it so exciting? Let’s take a look at these details now.

A Captivating Plot

The most important aspect of an exciting book is its captivating and unpredictable plot. A predictable plot with few developments and actions will rarely make an exciting book.

A compelling plot can capture the reader’s attention at the story’s start and manage to keep it till the end.

Writers can make the plot of their book more engaging by using cliffhangers, suspense, and just enough plot twists to surprise the reader. When included in a plot, all these elements make readers invested in the story and curious about what happens next.

Plots of interesting books also include obstacles that the hero has to overcome and new characters who come with new difficult situations that one or two older characters should help solve.

Solving the arising challenges helps push the story forward and keep it engaging.


According to a renowned literary agent, Jonny Geller, a book must be relatable to the reader for it to be interesting. It has to resonate with as many readers as possible as soon as it’s published.

He went on to say that resonance has a lot to do with the significant global events that are taking place during the writing of the book. By targeting major international events affecting many people simultaneously, writers can make their stories resonate with as many people as possible.

Resonance is essential because it enables the reader to put themselves in the character’s shoes and understand why they made their decisions.

He gives the book Room as an example of a book with good resonance.

Although very few people can relate to being locked in a room and forced to find a way to escape, many can relate to the pure parental love depicted in the book.

Here’s a YouTube video of Jonny Geller’s talk about what makes a bestseller:

Well-Written Characters and Locations

The characters are the drivers of the plot since they’re the ones taking action, changing and growing, and feeling.

A well-written character, regardless of whether they’re the protagonist or antagonist, is one whose personality is well-defined and whose actions are backed by motives that the writer has explained in detail.

It is one who keeps changing, growing, and evolving as new events unfold can also be defined as a well-written character. The characters are also usually flawed in a compelling book, just like people in the real world.

Making characters perfect reduces their resonance with the reader.

Some great examples of well-written characters are those from the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling. She described the main characters clearly and defined the villains’ personalities, actions, and motives in detail.

Also, just like people, places can have personalities. They can either teem with people or look empty, be fast and full of activity, or slow or relaxed. These places can also change and acquire other “personalities.”

A Great Writing Style

According to Jonny Geller, each writer has a unique voice when writing.

A great writing style presents the voice of the author accurately. It includes varying the length of the sentences to showcase different emotions and moods such as:

  • Urgency
  • Anger
  • Relaxation
  • Love

The author’s choice of words and literary devices also depicts their unique voice. Examples of great literary devices include humor and extended metaphors, and they’ll rarely be similar to those written by other authors.

Education on a Subject

Most readers enjoy discovering and learning something new when reading a book.

Such readers describe great books as those that show a lot of research in a particular subject area and express it in a story with a great plot.

One example of such a book is The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. In the book, he educates his audience about art pieces such as the Vitruvian Man, the last supper, and the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci. He also delves deep into ancient religion in a stimulating way.


Literature is art, and art is feeling. Emotions make us human, and to find a book that can make you feel human emotions is to find a good book. When the sensations felt by the characters in different situations are explained in great detail, the book’s relatability increases, making it more interesting.

Growth and Change

The growth and change of people and places also help with the progression of the plot. It can also be the action in the book.

Development can include a character’s evolution over time where their mindset changes or the introduction of a new character who changes the dynamics in the story, or movement to a new place, or an event.

This aspect also gives the book a human edge and makes it more relatable because we as humans are always evolving. We can change our belief system and values, regret our actions, and even gain a new personality over time.


A captivating plot, resonance, well-written characters and locations, a great writing style, education on a subject that readers find interesting make a book enjoyable. When well utilized, these aspects can make a book very captivating and difficult for the reader to put down once they start reading.

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