This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.
That is a good question. I used to finish every book I started but not so much anymore. There are too many options and with KU (Kindle Unlimited), I can get a lot of targeted stories for free. So now, I finish maybe 90% of the books I start. Except today. In an effort to clean up my TBR pile, I deleted about five books that have been languishing there.
Why do I quit early? I wrote on this topic about a decade ago and dug out that old post. To my surprise, little has changed except the year. Here are my top reasons:
- Characters aren’t likable.
- Plot develops too slowly
- Plot is too complicated. I don’t understand what’s going on. There are too many pieces that don’t seem to be connected well enough. I can’t keep up.
- Plot is unrealistic (and it isn’t a science fiction story. Even those should inspire me to willingly suspend my disbelief)
- No hook. It’s a dazzling plot with great believable characters and set in a perfectly-described scene but the author forgot the hook. Why do I care?
- Author is preachy. I don’t want the author’s opinions on a subject for more than a paragraph (or less). If I wanted preaching, I’d attend a sermon. Same goes for politics. For me as well as many others, reading is an escape from politics. Let them escape (unless of course, it’s a political novel like Alan Drury. Then by all means, go get ’em)
- I can’t see what’s going on. The author hasn’t sufficiently fleshed out the scenery, nor filled my senses with the world inhabited by the story’s characters
- Author didn’t do his/her research. I’ve caught too many errors and no longer trust what the author is telling me. This is especially important in historic fiction. A writer can make one mistake, but two is a trend. Three is an end.
- A character has red hair one scene and black the next. It was a drizzly day when the chapter opened and the characters dress for summer–for no reason. Attention to detail, please!
How about you? Why do you quit reading?
More on writing that doesn’t work
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Summer 2021.