Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why I Stop Reading a Book

I read books like I breathe air. When I was younger, like in high school, I was a plugger. I'd finish a book, damn it, no matter how dreadful I found it. I no longer do this. I'm perfectly happy to put a book down quickly. There are so many books out there, and my time is limited. If a book isn't for me, why keep reading it, right?

I've had to put down several books lately (all traditionally published). Some of them started promisingly, and others were, to me, doomed from the get-go. Most of them are highly rated, so that goes to show how subjective enjoying a book is. That said, I'll explain why I put the books down.

-- Too many characters introduced in too quick a time frame and with omniscient POV. Too much to keep track of! Too confusing.  (This happened with three books lately.)

-- Back story makes up 90 percent of the pages I've read so far (this was for a murder mystery). The writing was great and brilliant, but I was eager to get to the meat of the story. Had no idea when that would happen, so I put the book down.

In general, I advise writers to follow this rule of thumb: Introduce characters gradually, avoid omniscient POV and head hopping, and dole out back story throughout the story.

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