What will make a Reader Set a Book Down?
I love books, everything about them. The smell, the weight in my hands, the journey they take me on. Since I was young, I’ve read veraciously. But once I became an author, my appetite became more refined. I found myself actually putting a book down without finishing it. It had never happened before, and when it happened a second time I realized things had changed. I’d developed pet peeves that interfered with my ability to just let go and enjoy the ride. What makes you put a book down? Did it change one you became an author? Or as a fan is there some you can tolerate, and some you cannot? Here are mine:
1) Head hopping. I am reading a novel now, I am half way through and still not attached to any one character. I was to become one with the heroine and be carried away. Maybe become one with hero to get turned on by the level of testosterone. Hey, it’s called fantasy for a reason. I find the head hopping distracting and a sure fire way to plant me, the reader right in the audience observing, instead of in the action, feeling.
2) Things quivering and trembling. I am so over it. I think that falls under cliché rules. Don’t tell me her lips are quivering from fear or desire. ‘Show’ me her almost pissing her pants or the goose bumps on her flesh. Anything but the tried and true quiver. Yet I see it in so many new authors’ work.
3) “He whispered” My answer to him, grow a pair and tell me what you want, out loud like a grown up.
4) 50 shades of anything. I think our cherries have all been popped at this point. Let’s tuck in the shirttail and use our imagination to find something new without using the word Dom or Sub. Let me clarify, I am not saying don’t use the BDSM genre. Please do, I love it. But if you were writing a new vampire novel would you name your main characters Bella and Edward?
5) Journeys that go on and on ...and on, with no new plot development or character growth. Ya, I get they gotta go somewhere, but do we have to be along for the ride? I find myself yawning and thinking wake me up when something happens. Now for the disclaimer, because my last novel was basically a road trip with zombies. But I truly made an effort for each chapter to introduce something new about the destination or a character, building the tension and need to move forward.
So there it is, my new pet peeves. Before I began writing, although some didn’t excite me, I couldn’t pinpoint why. Now I tend to read with an author’s eye, and find these things distracting. What distracts you when you are reading?