Whenever I go back to reading books by a great author, it’s easy to tell the differences between good and great. Here’s a few I've noticed.
Good authors make exciting characters while great authors make deep characters. In terms of personality, a lot of good authors will try to make the outward aspects more apparent, unusual or exciting. Great authors instead will focus more on making characters that feel like real people. Their characters will leave a lot said but over time will still reveal their deeper emotions, beliefs, and thoughts.
Good authors will work on making a frantic and exciting plot while great authors will be able to bring out the interesting parts of any story. In a good book, there will be plenty of excitement and action but at the end of it, it’s easy to move on to the next exciting thing. Great authors find the deeper bits of emotion and truth in any story and make those memorable. Often there might be only a few bits of intense action in a great book, but it usually has a lot more meaning than only physical danger.
Great books often feel a little uncomfortable or unusual as you begin. Often the style or characters feel a little foreign until you've spent time with them, but the power in the strangeness makes them much less forgettable. In contrast, good books usually have a more bland style that’s easily consumed but much less memorable.
It’s not bad to read good books but there’s so many of them out there. Wouldn’t you rather read great ones?