Novelists employ standard techniques which help them achieve success. The following are some of the important ones.
1.) Realism is achieved when the reader is led to suspend his disbelief, that is, to forget that what he is reading is imaginary and not true. To achieve this, the author should observe the following:
a) The setting, language and characterisation should be harmonized into a credible whole.
b.) The author should not allow any doubt or contempt for what he is describing because the reader will certainly share his attitudes.
c.) Where possible, details showing intimate knowledge of what the author is describing should be included.
d.) When convenient and plausible, the story should be linked up or have echoes of real life events. (For example, the influenza of 1918 in The Great Ponds)
a.) Throughout the story, there should always be something which the reader is looking forward to. This creates suspense.
b.) As much as possible, what the reader looks forward to, should be kept uncertain.
c.) When the end appears certain, there should be some side issues that should keep the reader in suspense. (For example, if the death of the hero is certain, then other things which should happen before the hero's death could sustain tension)
3.) Humour and Entertainment: Humour is strongly linked to entertainment and this must be kept in mind throughout the story. There must be enough humor here and there to relieve tension and amuse the reader.
4.) Irony: This is said to occur when an action produces an effect opposite to, or at least very different from that expected. Irony may be comic or tragic. E.g in The Concubine, Ihuoma's son kills Ekwueme while Ahurole's love portion drives Ekwueme into Ihuoma's hands. In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo the hero of the tribe dies ignominiously and does not even get a decent burial.
5.) Flashback: By this technique, the author is able to suspend the narrative temporarily in order to recall past events. E.g. Alekiri's account of her war experience in Estrangement.
6.) Stream of Consciousness: By this technique, the author "plays god" by x-raying the minds of the characters and letting the reader know what they are thinking. This provides useful insight into their characters and motivations. E.g as seen in Estrangement, pages 86 and 100.