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.
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.
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: