While doing some research on Jane Austen and her works for my review of P.D. James's new mystery, Death Comes to Pemberley, I came across this quote from Austen's novel, Northanger Abbey. Novelists should commit it to heart.
"Only a novel"... in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour are conveyed to the world, in the best chosen language."
From Northanger Abbey, Chapter 5 (1818)