I do not think it is possible to narrow a good novel down to a formula of some kind. If it was possible to do so, a novel would not be . . . well, novel. In that there are certain areas of overlap that good novels share, I can say with some certainty that a good novel has interesting and complex characters facing interesting and difficult situations, and
Now on the other side of the question, because language and human imagination suggest infinite capacity, any attempt to reduce the novel to some theory will ultimately fail. Literary theory is necessarily incomplete because the varieties of human experience are without limit, as is the human imagination and the capacity of language. There can be great novels that do not meet conventional criteria. Finnegan’s Wake, for example, is considered by many to be a literary masterpiece. Also future technological developments will create new possibilities for stories. I’m thinking here not of a novel but of Charlie Booker’s television series, Black Mirror. I believe that the stories/scripts of these shows, which freely mix science and science fiction, have great literary merit. Like a 21st century version of the Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, they have much to say about human reality.