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A novel is an extended fictional narrative, usually written in prose.

Fiction, regardless of its attempt at verisimilitude, is a created world apart, a world of the possible or probable or even the fantastic rather than the actual. Fiction is governed by its own rules and internal completeness.

The only obligation of the writer is to make the story interesting.

The measure of success of a work of fiction is how well or poorly the author has unified the story and controlled its impact.

In The Art of Fiction John Gardner says:

A novel is like a symphony in that its closing movement echoes and resounds with all that has gone before. . . . Toward the close of a novel. . . . unexpected connections begin to surface; hidden causes become plain; life becomes, however briefly and unstably, organized; the universe reveals itself, if only for the moment, as inexorably moral; the outcome of the various characters' actions is at last manifest; and we see the responsibility of free will. (184)

A novel aims for a comprehensive unified effect in which all of the elements of fiction intertwine to make a comment on the human condition.

The elements of fiction are :

An ability to identify these elements in a novel and then understand how all of these elements work together to provide the effect of the novel on the reading leads to a critical understanding of a novel.
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© 2005 Dr. Agatha Taormina
Last ReviseNovember 15, 2012-->