Because you are reading this, you are interested in writing a novel. Maybe you've already begun, maybe you have a general idea of what you want to write about, maybe you have a deep, powerful feeling that you have a story that needs to be told. Because you've taken action, and have decided to read this article, you are already ahead of the many others who only wish they could make their dreams come true.
There are many, many novels out there. Some are wonderful, some not so wonderful. Some you read, and want to read again and again. Some you read and wonder why you've wasted your time. To write a successful novel, it helps to study what has made other novels so successful. One thing that very good stories have is a premise.
A premise is the point you are trying to get across in your novel. You use the characters, the story, and the conflicts to show how your premise holds true. It is not necessary to convince your readers that your premise is true everywhere, all the time, only in the specific circumstances of your characters and your story.
What are some good premises? Think back to some of the more memorable movies you've seen and novels you've read and they will start to become clear.
Here are some examples:
It's better to do the right thing than the easy thing. Family loyalty is more important than obedience to the law. If you are persistent towards your goals no matter what happens, you will achieve them. Friends united will defeat evil in disarray.
Once you get clear on your premise you are well on your way to writing a smashing bestseller. Every character interaction, conflict buildup and resolution, and twist and turn of your plot should, in some way, be an example of your premise. This will give readers that underlying feeling of continuity and structure that will make them want to tell their friends about your novel, write fantastic reviews on Amazon, and read everything you've written.