How can you know when a novel is good?

How can you know when a novel is good?

You can’t.

You can know when a novel is finished. (When you’re done writing.)

You can know when a novel is appreciated. (When a reader gives you positive feedback.)

But you can’t know when a novel is good.

You can know when a novel is award-winning. (After it wins an award.)

You can know when a novel is critically-acclaimed. (When a critic acclaims it.)

But you can’t know when a novel is good.

You can know when a novel is funny. (If someone laughs when reading it.)

You can know when a novel has five stars. (After a reviewer clicks the 5-star link.)

But you can’t know when a novel is good.

You can know when a novel is wordy. (After you turn page 500.)

You can know when a novel is boring. (After reading Henry James.)

But you can’t know when a novel is good.

You can know when a novel makes a great movie. (After it’s adapted successfully.)

You can know when a novel has staying power. (When high school English classes start to read it.)

But you can’t know when a novel is good.

You can know when a novel is controversial. (By watching cable news.)

You can know when a novel is not selling. (By looking at its sales ranking.)

But you can’t know when a novel is good.

You can know when a novel is released. (By the date of its release.)

You can know when a novel is a best-seller. (When the New York Times says it is.)

But you can’t know when a novel is good.

 

So, writers, don’t fret about outcome. Just write. That is always good.

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