ON PARIS

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris ... then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

#IWSG post for January 6 - What stops me from finishing reading a book.

 Hi!

Welcome to the January 2021 IWSG posts. Welcome back those who had an hiatus over the holiday season and are now back and raring to go. 




Hope your time off went well. Now we're all back with our insecurities/securities in place. As you trawl the IWSG posts, may you find support and encouragement in great measure.

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the January 6 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise - Fundy Blue! Visit if you can!

I'm going to answer the question this month. And the question is:

Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books?


Life's too short to read bad books. But what makes a book unreadable, toss-across-the-room unreadable is personal to the reader. I've deleted my original post as it sounded judgy from someone who doesn't like to be judged herself, LOL. So I decided to go lite to answer the question.

Here's what turns me off, with an example thrown in here and there:

1)  CHARACTERISATION: After the first few chapters I couldn't care less about the characters and what happens to them - A Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. Toss!

2)  HORROR OVERLOAD: When I get to Chapter 3-ish and find out that the finely-cooked meat the MC is munching is actually human flesh. Urk. Hangman by Jack Heath. Rubbish collection day came just in time! I don't often destroy a book, but this one had no redeemable qualities.

3)  TO ME, SILLY ROMANCE: Opening paragraph of the heroine oogling the hero's bum. Too common to mention names. Across the room it goes, bringing down a pile of books on the way.

4)  PUBLISHED TOO SOON: The English teacher in me is majorly put off by the murdering of grammar, punctuation and the technical aspects of language. Not everyone has mastered these fine aspects of what makes a story enjoyable (and some argue that grammar etc is overrated - I don't agree), so that's why we have editors. Hold off publishing until you can afford one.

5) DOESN'T DELIVER WHAT COVER/BLURB LED ME TO EXPECT: For example, I have a weakness for books with 'Paris' in the title, but am ticked off when Paris is not actually in the book - it might just be a twinkle in the MC's eye. Let's not tease gullible readers with false promises.

6) STARTING WITH TOO MUCH BACKSTORY. I once began a book where I had to wait till p.45 before anyone spoke. I love dialogue, Danielle Steele. Backstory killed your book and my chances of finishing it.

ENDNOTE:

I haven't been well for awhile -- this too shall pass -- and during this time my brain has been too woolly to write, but I have immersed myself in reading my favorite genre, psychological thrillers (paperback). I even commented on an IWSG FB post recently how I loved this genre, but couldn't imagine writing it. Surprise! I've been plotting in my head then putting ideas on paper and ta da! With my critters' help, soon I'll have a fully fleshed out romantic suspense novel. A new genre for me. I'm looking forward to writing it in such a way no one will throw my book across the room, LOL. And it won't have 'Paris' in the title.

Happy writing all!

If you need motivation to get writing, WEP has gorgeous prompts for 2021. All are in my sidebar. Here is February's:



Thanks for coming by!

                 


36 comments:

  1. Characters I don't care about tops my list.
    Sorry you haven't been well but glad you have a new idea brewing.

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  2. The cover - blurb one has zapped me. I've picked up more than one that promised a dragon with none between the pages. I almost didn't buy McCaffrey's The White Dragon as I feared I would get burned again. (Fortunately, it contains hundreds of dragons.)

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    1. Covers/blurbs must really deliver what they promise.

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  3. So agree that life is too short to read a bad book. And characters I don't chare about is a big one for me too.

    Sorry you haven't been feeling well. Exciting that you're thinking of writing a psychological thriller. I'm thinking of trying a mystery one of these days.

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  4. That's wonderful that you're writing! I hope the book is everything you dream it to be.

    I do hate when a book promises something and doesn't deliver. (Ohh, it's Paris, Texas. Or Paris like the famous character. Or that's actually an image of Las Vegas. 🙄 )

    I hope your New Year is going well. I only read and reviewed 23 books last year, but my goal for this year is 30. My other goals are to publish another fiction book in 2021, do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April, and increase the number of authors helped by Operation Awesome.

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    1. Yes, I think in their quest for sales, some authors mislead readers.
      I hope your New Year is going well too. Good luck with the reviewing. You sound nicely busy.

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  5. I am sorry you have been unwell, and thrilled that you are expanding your writing horizons.
    Bad editing is a deal breaker for me.
    And characters who do not grow. I don't have to like them, but they DO have to develop.

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    1. Thanks Sue. I'll send you a draft of my suspense when it's ready if you'd like to read it for me. Sounds like you feel the same as I do on many fronts.

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  6. Hope you're feeling better, Denise - take good care of you!!
    Love and agree with your list - I give a book a bit of time to draw me in, but I no longer force myself to finish (sorry mom!)

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    1. Thanks Jemi. We can't finish every book we start!

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  7. Great list of pet peeves, but I thought grammar would have made number one. LOL Can't take the English teacher out of the writer or reader!

    So glad you are feeling better, keep it up, and definitely keep writing!

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  8. Hi Denise - I do hope you're feeling easier and will carry on recovering.

    I don't like endings that fritter out, poor grammar, an incoherent storyline ... and I'm sure all of your listings! Take care, stay safe - and here's to happy and easier New Year - Hilary

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Hilary. I'm slowly getting better. The new year has forced me back onto the computer.

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  9. Hi and Happy New Year!
    Please do take care of yourself. I hope you recover soon.
    Have a great 2021.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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  10. I agree with them all! The tricky one is by far the most egregious, akin the bait and switch! Take care. I hope you feel better soon.

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  11. You've nailed several of my own pet peeves. Glad you gave me the heads up on the Rowling book. It was on my TBR list.

    The Kiss should produce some excellent stories for the next WEP!

    Happy New Year, Denise.

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    Replies
    1. You might like it, Lee. Everyone has different tastes. I'm looking forward to The Kiss challenge.

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  12. Thanks for the entertaining post! Hope those books don't do too much damage on their flight path. Yeesh, my sister gave me that Rowling book one Christmas although I'd never been a fan - I couldn't get on with it either (that said, I've promised to try Harry Potter again for my superfan daughter, so we'll need to see). All the best for good things in 2021.

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    1. Thanks Nick. Don't waste your time on Casual Vacancy. All the best to you in 2021!

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  13. I like your list, Denise. The item about too much backstory was especially relevant. I recently read a good book, but its first two chapters were clear backstory, all through tell but no show. I was ready to abandon the book in disgust, when at last the action started. They should've cut off the first two chapters and insert little backstory snippets inside the rest of the story.

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    Replies
    1. They so should have. Sometimes I persist and it's worth it.

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  14. Great list. It really is bad when a book promises one thing and delivers something else.

    I love that you are plotting something new :)

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    1. It feels good. I've been so enmeshed in my vampires and contemporary romance, a new direction is exciting.

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  15. Sorry to hear you haven't been well. Hope things are improving. Best wishes for 2021!

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  16. That's so cool you're starting off the year with a new genre, wow! Get well soon and all the best for the new writing!

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  17. Great list Denise - I'm imagining you hurling books across the room and can't help chuckling. Hope you're feeling better now and I'm looking forward to your new book. Happy New Year.

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    1. Thanks Kalpana. I'll send you a copy when I finish.

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  18. It seems to me all that 'setup/explanation' writing could/should be scattered like gems through the story so you are still finding out reasons and motivations of the characters. Dump it on me at the beginning and I'm not sure what's left to learn.

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  19. Great list. Characters to care about are a must!

    Ronel visiting for IWSG day Why You Need Reader Reviews

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