As you know we had the issue of the fonts this week on the cover of the book and map. We have come to the conclusion that rather than argue if we can use certain fonts, we will be changing them next week. It would be this week but Mikey is out of town until next Tuesday. That really is the only problem we have left to fix and then back to formatting. It does put us back a few more weeks, but it will be worth it.
In the mean time I was reading a blog the other day and even though I had touched on the same subject at hand in the past, I thought it would be a good one to bring back up again. The subject of what makes you close a book before reading all of it.
I think it's an important topic mainly because those of us that are writers need to come to terms with what we really need to fix before we put our babies out into the world. You don't want to get a lot of negative reviews, and let's face it, none of us are perfect and we need to be honest with ourselves if we want to sell our books. So I thought I would put my list out there and hopefully you will put yours down in the comments section so I can get an idea of what drives you crazy enough to possible close a book.
1. One thing that really drives me crazy is when the writer puts an added thought "column" after every dialog. I know sometimes you want to add thoughts of the POV character, but every time they say something, or even when the other character answers? So in other words, a dialog sequence takes several pages. I know that is a way for you to bring out the personality of your protagonist, but every time? And then to boot, it's a paragraph of basically mumbling.
2. Info dump can be really annoying too. I know I have been guilty of it myself, but that's why I have critique partners. They keep me in line. You can take the information you want to portray and insert it here and there so as not to put it all in one place. And you can use dialog to get out the information.
3. Head-hopping is another one. You really need to stay in one characters POV within a scene or chapter. And you really should only select a few characters throughout your entire book that you will go into their view. You should have one protagonist (your main character) and one nemesis (your bad guy). Of course you have other characters (secondary) and sometimes need to go into their thoughts, but keep it to a minimum. The story is your main character's story.
4. Telling instead of showing. This is a tough one, but is completely annoying. I know there are times you do need to tell, but really very few. Try to describe "what" the character is seeing, instead of telling. Bring us into the scene. The same goes with their thoughts if it's an important scene in the book.
5. If the story is boring. This is where you want to look at stronger verbs and telling action. Limit the amount of dialog between characters. Not pages and pages of a conversation. Make people want to care about the characters. Come up with action scenes that put the readers at the edge, you can even do this with love scenes. And watch your redundancy.
6. Understanding what your reading. There are certain writers who try to write above the heads of typical readers by using words that most people would never have in their vocabulary. You need to stick to the character's POV profile. If the character is a young girl, would she really use those words? Another one is, and is used a lot in my genre, making up a different language. I have one in my book(s), but I try to make sure that at least 90% is understandable by using the word in "their" language, and in ours. And using made up words that are an inch long so that no one can pronounce them is frustrating because it stops the reader in their tracks.
I think this is the most important point. If you are stopping the reader, they will end up putting your book down. You need to keep the story moving along. Sure there are points where you will slow down, but not for long.
I have put down books for a few of the reasons I listed. Mainly because it will drive me crazy trying to read it. I really hate skimming, but I seem to do it a lot lately.
7. And the last, but not least, is the 3 page chapter writers. There is no depth in their story. It's simply, this happens, than this. Sure, it moves along, but I have not become invested in the characters. There are quite a few "famous" writers now who have started doing this. They want to pump out the books and don't care how the reader feels about their work. They figure the more books they pump out the more money they make and if they were, at one time, a good story teller, then people will buy them. Or if they have a big name because at one time they were great writers. In my opinion, not any more.
Well there's my list, what's yours? I'm sure there have been times where you have stopped reading a book. Let me know what drives you crazy, I'm all ears!
Until next week, have a great weekend and I will see you next Tuesday!