We all have those things that drive us absolutely nutty when we read. Something that pulls us from the story and if it gets bad enough … causes us to throw the book against the wall, never to finish it.

As a writer I think my threshhold has gotten more sensitive. Things I didn’t know were a problem when I was just a reader now drive the writer in me insane.

Constant head-hopping between characters in a scene is one of mine. It’s a rule … don’t do it very often. And if you must … once … and DO IT WELL. Make me be in the other character’s head before I realize it. Make me go back and see exactly where and how you skillfully moved me into the thoughts of another. But for goodness sake … please don’t keep flitting in and out of heads. (Of course only NYT best selling authors seem to get away with this … which is why it drives me MORE insane.)

Also, the choice of adverbs vs a good solid verb. I’ve mentioned this before. Used sparingly adverbs are AWESOME. Overused and they pull me from the story. My other nitpic is repeating a word (unconsciously) a couple times in sentences close together. Sometimes repetition is used as a tool … I get that. But when another word could have been used so the repetition didn’t occur, it makes me crazy. Words are an authors livelihood. Use them to your full advantage.

Those are things the author can control.

Then there are those things the author can’t control. Typos or bad editing. I can forgive a few typos. They happen. I’ve had them in my books. Even after 3 sets of edits (where I read EVERY word the first two passes) and a line editor … it happens. It’s easy to read a word you expect to be there when it’s actually missing. As an author you hope it won’t happen, but it does. I’m okay with a few, but when there are several in each chapter … I’ve been known to give up.

A friend of mine actually read and enjoyed a book that had at least one typo every two pages. She mentioned it, so it bugged her, but not enough to stop reading. No. It is so not going to happen with me. That’s too many. The book will sail through the air never to be read by me.

So I guess I was just wondering … what makes a book a wall banger for you?

0 Responses to When Books Hit the Wall

  • I’m a pretty tolerant reader so there isn’t really one thing that makes me toss a book. In fact it’s a pretty rare thing. When it does happen, it’s usually something that just get’s my back up. I won’t name names but the most recent one involved a blind hero “reaching blindly” for the heroine’s hands. That was it for me. Come on! You couldn’t think of another word to put in there? 🙂

    Actually having thought about it, there is *one* thing that will make me toss a book. Bad Scottish dialogue. I’m Scottish myself so it really annoys me.

  • You know, unless it’s just a really REALLY obvious typo–I don’t think I’ve ever noticed. I can’t remember a book with a typo. Not to say I’ve never read one but I’ve heard of peeps throwing books against a wall because the book is ruined for them due to one measly-ass typo WTF???

    Ok….I’m a pretty easy going reader. Most of the time if I walk away from a book it’s because the book is a MEH book not because the book is a bad/sucky/shitty book. But twice…and only twice have I ever gotten so mad I’ve a) returned a book or b) thrown it away because honest to God, while I get that everyone has different views of what’s publishable etc, I honestly could not understand how either of those books got published.

    That said, I do a LOT of first person writing and by damn I’m good at it so if I read your first person book and it sucks, I will hate you forever because by damn there is NOTHING WORSE THAN BAD FIRST PERSON!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH *squeezing head*

  • I don’t mind a couple typos either. It happens.

  • Cait – Oh, that “blind” description would have made me groan most definitely! And authors trying to have words phonetic rather than describing their accent is annoying anyway, I can’t imagine if they totally messed up my native tongue.

    Amie – LOL! on the first person. We all have our hot buttons don’t we? Well written first person is so much fun to read.

    Kelly – Yeah, typos here and there happen regardless of the author/editor/publisher. I’d just prefer they were kept to a minimum.

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