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I have been wondering – like a lot of other people – why some fiction books become successful (I mean primarily science fiction and fantasy genres).
There are three essential elements: the created world, its greatest “attraction” and the plot. If they are presented in a skillful, interesting and balanced way, the author has literary talent. If he/she has a lot of luck, he/she will probably succeed.
I suppose, the second factor is the most important here. It should have the greatest potential to inspire readers` imagination – even beyond the original author`s concept. It should be powerful, profound and with the multiplicity of aspects.
I will give five examples:
J. K. Rowling: the greatest attraction (tga): Hogwart – as the building, institution and community.
P. Pullman: tga: souls as external entities in animal forms – dæmons.
S. Lem: tga: the conscious, living ocean.
P.L. Travers: tga: Mary Poppins.
J.R.R. Tolkien: tga: the temptation of power.
Without these elements of their imaginary worlds, all listed writers might have remained relatively unknown.
I could compare reading a great book to visiting a house – with the author as my guide. He/she might awake my curiosity by presenting his/her splendid architectural concept, rooms, the most attractive, amazing element, and inhabitants – in an intricate, unconventional way. All these factors are important for creating a unique climate of the place. Nevertheless, I would probably pay special attention to the most attractive element (it could be for example: a room, object, inhabitant, or event). And the entire author`s world may become alive also in my imagination for a long time.