Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why Readers Walk Away...

Why did the reader turn the page? To get to the other side.

As readers, we all want books that grab a hold and won’t let go. I’ve found that the older I’m less likely to keep reading a book if I feel it lets me down. When I was younger, I felt a responsibility to the book, as if I was letting the author down if I didn’t finish it. Especially if I bought it (less likely to keep reading with a library book if I became annoyed ;)).

Now, in my crabby old age, I’ll walk away from a book in a heartbeat if I don’t get what I want.

I feel that life is too short and there are way too many books out there for me to waste my time. So what will make me dump a book?

Not starting in the right spot. Now if I picked the book up in a book store I’m more likely to have read the first page. But if I didn’t, and it’s boring (started too soon), confusing (started too late), or filled with back story – I’m outta there. Now, unlike agents and editors, I usually will keep reading past page one, but sometimes not far. Is it harsh, yup- but it’s reality. I need to know the author has great characters, a great plot, and will take me on a fun ride.

Too much focus on boring stuff. Don’t zero in on the uniforms of a bunch of guards if it’s not important. Don’t feed me all the history about your world in one lump because it’s “cool”. Authors should always know way more about their world than even makes it to page.

Those are my two big “and this book is outta here” markers-what are yours?



  1. Long drawn out descriptions of landscapes, such as the ones Jean Auel does in her series starting with Clan of the Cave Bear...accckkk

  2. I agree with you, I know some folks love those types of things, but for me they are usually over done and pull away from the story.

    Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  3. Great post. Agree with all yours, plus, for me, it's voice and style. I love that I can download the first few chapters on my e-reader to see if the author's voice grabs me. If it doesn't, I don't have the buy the book. And like you, I am getting tougher to please in my old age, LOL.

  4. Thanks Janet! Isn't it funny how pickier we are as we age? Ok, so I will say you have a very good point about e-readers (yeah, yeah, yeah- at some point I'll get one! LOL) and I can't believe I missed voice- that's HUGE. If the voice isn't there, neither am I.

    Thanks again for coming by and commenting!

  5. Ditto on the long descriptions....I also hate it when I am reading a series and it goes on and on, and seems like it is never gonna get to the finale! Also, hate it when it ends on a cliffhanger and the next book isn't coming for like 2 years! ACK! The author seeming to delight in killing off the main characters bugs me...esp when they are people I am invested in. Anti-climactic endings leave me very unsatisfied...I have read books that kept me on the edge of my seat right up to the end, and then it is like the author just ran out of steam! I am left saying to myself "Is that it? All this buildup for that?" Good grief, I will stop here...I didn't know I had so many issues!! LOLOL!

  6. LOL!! You hit alot of them! Thanks for coming by and commenting- as a writer, it's good to hear what we'd better NOT do!

  7. Bad writing makes me stop every time!

  8. I can handle most things, but not a slow-moving story. If I'm bored, I put the book down. :)

  9. Thanks for coming by and commenting Sherry and Cori- I agree with both. There's nothing worse than writing that pulls you out of a story, or a pace that makes you wish you were out of the story ;).

  10. I agree with everyone's comments. I have one that wasn't mentioned. Stupid characters. I don't have a problem with characters making mistakes or doing something that is unwise given the circumstances, but being just plain dumb really gets my goat. A few years back I read a story by an author who gave talks at writer's seminars. I wanted to learn from a guy others thought wrote well. The characters in the story are looking for a sword. One of them finds a sword but never considers that it might be the one he is looking for even though it obviously is. He carried that sword around for what seems like hundreds of pages and every time he looked at it, I went, "Come on, you can't be that stupid!" but he was. I think I threw that book across the room once a day for over a week, swearing I'd never pick it up again. I suffered my way through that book, but promised myself I'd never read another by that author. And I haven't.


  11. Thanks for coming by and commenting Sharon :).

    Yup, another oldie but a goodie (or should that be badie?) the character who is Too Stupid To Live (or find a magical object right in front of them).

    I have sometimes found the TSTL characters in romance books- and sadly, it's usually the female character. But when I throw a book across the room, it stays there! LOL!! You're a more stubborn reader than me ;).

    Thanks again for pointing out yet another walk away point!

  12. I'm out of the story when the author sets up a plot to get the hero and heroine together that is too contrived.

  13. I agree with the previous points. I find that I don't mind a long narrative if it adds to the story, but just for filler it is useless. Also, to expand on the hero and herione getting together, I don't have a problem with that if it is an integral part of the story. Letting all that tension build up to get nowhere stinks too. What I would really like to see more of is more stories like the Eve Dallas ones where the hero and herione did get together, but the stories are done in such a way that it stays fresh and exciting.

    Lisa Dorman

  14. Most of the things I stop reading for are just personal preference. I always kick myself for not checking if a book is in present tense, because 90% of the time that makes it unreadable for me.

    If I'm not eager to pick up a book again, if I look for other things to do instead, I know it's time to move on.

    But I also hate when a character does something that is contrary to the way they've been set up. If I don't believe that's really the choice they'd make, you've lost me.

    (Bad grammar/spelling/punctuation errors will lose me within a couple of pages, too!)

  15. Thanks for coming by and commenting Gerri, Lisa, and Natalie!

    I agree Gerri, if I can see the plot before I get too far in the book, or obsticles are waaaay too silly to be believed, I'll dump that book.

    Great points Lisa- and the Eve Dallas books are a great example of what an author can do right!

    Natalie, that's good to realise what you do and don't like. I like both first and third, but I know many folks have strong feelings about first. As for a character acting out so to speak- exactly! I hate it when an author sets up a character, then has then suddenly act out of character. Character growing ARC yes, sudden jumps, no.

    Thanks again ladies!

  16. Great post Marie!!! :)

    I definitely need great characters and plot that's going somewhere fast! LOL

    Present tense is super tough for me to read too...

    Free samples on my Kindle really help me find good books! :)


  17. Thanks Lisa :). I've read one story in present tense, I finally got into it, but it was difficult.

    Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    Marie Andreas (at work, can't log into blogger)