I just read this article about the principles of making your novel compelling and I could not agree more. For those too lazy to follow the link, I will emphasise and reiterate what every good novel should contain:
- A good hook - if the story doesn't grab you from page one, you're doing it wrong.
- A strong voice - if the voice of the novel has its own style, you're half-way there to an interesting read
- A good/interesting story - that should go without saying
- Compelling characters - strong, relateable and believable characters (not just 16 year-olds with strong desires for centenarian vampires)
- Commentary on the human condition - something that resonates with the reader
Maybe I have rose-coloured glasses on but I know I followed those principles when writing my novel (even if I didn't know them at the time). Feel free to disagree, though, as that's what makes us human after all :)