If you are writing a novel, then you need to read more. I am incalculably behind on my reading and I blame my high school for many reasons. I went to a small, private school called Sweetwater Christian School—now defunct.
This article is largely for self-publishers. If you are having a hard time making your book look more appealing, then it may be time to start on the side of thievery. People come up with good ideas all the time for books and graphics and art.
There is a box that is writing. Some things you must adhere to in order to write a good story—intro, body, climax and conclusion. Constructing a setting. Developing characters. Making the characters visible. The box pretty much ends there.
Let's get something straight right here and now. Describing your characters is about as various as the characters themselves. What I mean is that everyone describes characters differently, but I believe writers, especially young writers, get caught up in the need to paint an accurate description of a character.
When I first started on my debut novel, I anticipated some bloodshed—hence it being a thriller—but I didn't anticipate killing off one of my main characters so early in the book.
Oddly enough, I had two writers ask me rather similar questions about writing a novel. (Tip on being a writer: get in a writers group—just a little shout-out to mine.)
This answer is pretty simple. In my opinion, writing a novel takes two things: a good story and perseverance. If your story doesn't interest you, then that creates a two-fold problem.
When I began my career as a journalist in 2006 at a small, weekly newspaper, I was blessed enough to have a great editor (and soon enough, mentor and friend), Allen Jones, who believed in my writing ability.