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message 1: by Leigh (new)

Leigh | 6313 comments I was reading the group comments for The Cuckoo's Callingand some noted that they had issues with the writing so I thought we could discuss this issue. When you're reading, what take out out of a book? Gratuitous spelling errors, shifting P.O.V.(AKA Points of View), anachronistic language, stilted dialogue?


message 2: by Martyn (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 48 comments All of those, and mostly a lack of verisimilitude.


message 3: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Davie (kathydavie) | 23 comments Poorly used or "stupid" tropes, poor use of grammar; spelling errors; word confusions; stiff writing; writing that insults my intelligence, anachronisms; poor attention to the culture, mores, and style of a time period; info dumps; too much tell...


message 4: by Kgwhitehurst (last edited May 01, 2014 08:38AM) (new)

Kgwhitehurst | 43 comments What's takes me out of a book is different for every book, but there are certainly things that will always do it. Unbelievable events or characterization will destroy my willing suspension of disbelief; internal inconsistencies of the narrative or putting characters through too much "stuff" will also make me throw a book away. Violence or sex generally does not put me off, but if it falls into general pattern of "over-the-topness" it will. Really poor use of point of view, particularly first person, will drive me to drop a book; head-hopping will also cause me to rage against a book.

PERFUME is a good example of utterly unbelievably fantastical nonsense destroying my willing suspension of disbelief. Not even a strong narrative voice and wonderful description of a sense that most writers bomb at--smell--saved that for me. LONDON FALLING fell into the category of too much stuff happening to the characters, particularly DI Quill as well as too much violence. Paul Cornell writes over the top and has put off a lot of people that way. In the Giordano Bruno novels, the author uses first person point of view in a completely self-indulgent manner that has nothing to do with the story. THE STRANGE DEATH OF LYNDON WILDER is the worst example of head hopping I have ever seen.

I'm willing to tolerate more grammar/punctuation/typographical errors in an ebook b/c too often that is the publisher's problem, not the author's--even though the author ends up looking like fool. When publishers rush a backlist into ebook, the OCR generally leaves a lot to be desired. Iain M. Banks suffered this way.


message 5: by Sully (new)

Sully (sully123) Little tricks from authors to "move things along" will take me out of a book. Sometimes a character pops out of nowhere and makes a comment that causes me to wonder - who is this, where did he/she come from, and how can she/he possibly know that information? In some cases it's an all knowing narrator that comes out of nowhere and makes comments - again causing me to wonder the identity and source of knowledge of the unknown narrator. And wonder where the narrator has been all along (sometimes never to be heard again in the book).

As I mentioned in The Cuckoo's Calling discussion, POV head hopping also causes me to step back and wonder what the writer is doing.


message 6: by David (new)

David Freas (quillracer) | 2201 comments Main characters that annoy/irritate me. (I stopped reading a Stephen J. Cannell book for this.)

Slow pacing. (Why I don't read Stephen King.)

A vague sense of time and/or place.

I'll stop reading a series if the author turns characters I liked in earlier books into ones I find obnoxious. (Are you listening, Pat Cornwell?)


message 7: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 182 comments Quillracer wrote: "Main characters that annoy/irritate me. (I stopped reading a Stephen J. Cannell book for this.)

Slow pacing. (Why I don't read Stephen King.)

A vague sense of time and/or place.

I'll stop read..."


Sooo true and precisely why I'm no longer all that fond of Cornwell! If I catch myself looking at the end of the book, its kind of a clue that the story has gone on too long or that the story has stopped in its tracks. Most annoying is when you get to what you think is the end and it continues on, and on ....


message 8: by Leigh (new)

Leigh | 6313 comments Quillracer wrote: "Main characters that annoy/irritate me. (I stopped reading a Stephen J. Cannell book for this.)

Slow pacing. (Why I don't read Stephen King.)

A vague sense of time and/or place.

I'll stop read..."




YES YES YES!!! To all of these.

I would add when an author has lost interest in their series but haven't ended it and you can tell by that writing that they are bored and no longer care.


message 9: by Leigh (new)

Leigh | 6313 comments Kgwhitehurst wrote: "What's takes me out of a book is different for every book, but there are certainly things that will always do it. Unbelievable events or characterization will destroy my willing suspension of disbe..."

Tastes sure are different! I know that Perfume: The Story of a Murderer was complete nonsense, yet I LOVED it. I stayed up late reading and read it quickly.


message 10: by Alice (new)

Alice (asimovs) Bad grammar, a lack of vocabulary and a boring plot that seemed nice in the synopsis.


Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews (silversreviews) I close a book if there are too many characters.

I close a book if I still have no idea what is going on by page 50. :)

Elizabeth
http://silversolara.blogspot.com


message 12: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Davie (kathydavie) | 23 comments Melodrama that goes over the top because the author thinks it provides tension and/or drama...


message 13: by Overton (new)

Overton Scott | 8 comments I've read through the comments and would have to agree with the majority of the items listed here. What I find interesting is that the failures mentioned in this topic have made it through (in the case of traditionally published books)the author, an agent, an editor and a copy editor. Doesn't exactly support the argument that publishers and agents are the 'gatekeepers' who protect us from poor writing.


message 14: by Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (last edited May 24, 2014 01:47AM) (new)

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Leigh wrote: "I was reading the group comments for The Cuckoo's Callingand some noted that they had issues with the writing so I thought we could discuss this issue. When you're reading, what t..."

Grammar errors do a little, but it's mainly too frequent head hopping that gets me. Another thing I hate, which is mainly in badly written romance books, but also sometimes other books like from Pat Conroy, is if they overuse the character names in dialogue.

"Pass the butter, Susan."
"Are you sure, Ted? It already has butter."
"I like a lot of butter, Susan."
"Okay"
"What brand of butter is this, Susan?"
"It's Parkay, Ted."

See what I mean? It's so unrealistic. People don't say each others names that much, so it always draws me out of books.


message 15: by Leigh (new)

Leigh | 6313 comments Erin (Paperback Stash) wrote: "Leigh wrote: "I was reading the group comments for The Cuckoo's Callingand some noted that they had issues with the writing so I thought we could discuss this issue. When you're r..."

LOL!!!!! Yes that is very annoying.


message 16: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (bplayfuli) | 15 comments Erin, I find that annoying too and would expand it to include repetition in general. Just yesterday I downloaded a sample of a book that looked interesting, read 3 pages and stopped at the end of a paragraph where every sentence began with "he." The paragraph was nine sentences long!


message 17: by Natasha (new)

Natasha | 93 comments It's when I can tell that "I am reading a book and this is what the writer is writing" ...when I'm not completely immersed in the story content. I read to escape and when I feel less than captured then I begin to stray and get bored


message 18: by Nancy (new)

Nancy J Bad grammar, punctuation, and bad sentence structure really gets to me. I forget about the story line and want to get a red pen and send it to the author! I can't tolerate it.


message 19: by Nancy (new)

Nancy J Excuse me! That first verb should have been 'get' to me---NOT 'gets.' See how I am? LOL!


message 20: by Michael (new)

Michael Smart | 2 comments Poor writing throws me out of a book by the opening pages. I am so distracted by the lack of craft and art in the writing, unimaginative sentence structure, weak words, measly verbs, too many adverbs and stilted dialogue, the story becomes lost and secondary and as someone above commented, all I can think of is breaking out a red pen.


message 21: by Carmen (new)

Carmen Amato (authorcarmenamato) | 23 comments Maybe I have read too many blog posts but reading a book with page-long paragraphs and run- on sentences is hard now. Switching points of view within the same section is also problematic. Then there is the problem of long descriptions and little action. I rarely don't finish a mystery but want there to be tension early on, without long chunks of boring descriptions.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Carmen wrote: "Switching points of view within the same section is also problematic.

Dear God, no author should EVER do that :(


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Jamie Lynn wrote: "Overton I have a feeling that when an editor does his/her job that the author has the final say.

It depends on the contract. Authors who make more get more say in general since they can renegotiate more to their liking.


message 24: by Kathy (last edited Jun 11, 2014 04:06PM) (new)

Kathy | -19 comments I've noticed that most authors provide details that would be appropriate in a screen play, not a novel, i.e. color of clothes, type of shoes, etc., which does not add to the story telling. For me, when I am really into a book, this throws me. If the author is good, I don't need the minutiae, because I already know the character. Many times, I think authors, today, do this in hopes that they will secure a screen play deal, but in my opinion, it ruins the story.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

To me, characters in conflict and how they will resolve their conflicts keep me turning the pages. I like that first chapter to start off by putting the protagonist in jeopardy.

The more the conflicts a character has and how the character gets out of those conflicts, the more depth the character will have.

For example this is what one reader said about my latest book: “I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see if they were able to resolve their differences or if they would split up.”

Conversely, this is what can happen if your characters are not conflicted: My wife had the weekly Mah Jongg game at our house last week. I overheard the ladies talking about a book. One said the characters bored me so I stopped reading after 100 pages.

Richard Brawer
www.silklegacy.com


message 26: by Jo Ann (new)

Jo Ann Reinhold (jwreinhold) | 15 comments I think for me it is stilted dialogue and characters that you just can't warm up to. Also, I love descriptive books but when they run on and on setting the scene I sometimes find myself flipping pages.


message 27: by Michael (new)

Michael (micky74007) If I cannot get past the author's presence and become immersed in the story I will give up on the book.
If I feel the writer is screaming "Look at me, I'm an author", well, I'll go read something else.


Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) If I do not like the author's writing style, then I stop reading. Excessive use of italics, identical words, exclamation points, and other literary devices irritate me. Also, I cannot STAND spelling errors and missing words in books. To me, it shows a lack of pride in the finished work.


message 29: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Oxier (debbieoxier) | 4944 comments Death of a main character in order to sell the next book!


message 30: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 182 comments Leigh wrote: "Kgwhitehurst wrote: "What's takes me out of a book is different for every book, but there are certainly things that will always do it. Unbelievable events or characterization will destroy my willin..."

This is one of the things that I'm conflicted when I write a review of a book.

My tastes are, simply, my tastes. Others feel differently, so all reviews are subjective in that light.

While I have no qualms about an author having a character "grow" even if they become someone I don't especially like (such as in mysteries series where the protagonist becomes somewhat jaded, i.e., Harry Bosh by Michael Connelly or Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole), that sometimes will stop readers.

And I've stopped reading a series when I think the character became one dimensional, take Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta. Enjoyed the books so much at first but then Scarpetta seemed, if anything to become weak and instead of growth, seemed to regress. I found I no longer enjoyed reading the books because I no longer found her believable. But that's my opinion (and I've stated it in reviews just before I quit reading the books) and I know others continue to read and enjoy the series.


message 31: by David (new)

David Freas (quillracer) | 2201 comments Debbie wrote: "Death of a main character in order to sell the next book!"

Yes!! I quit reading Karin Slaughter for that reason

Next to that is a cliffhanger of any kind that requires buying the next book to find out who died/got shot/etc. I quit reading J. A. Konrath's Jack Daniels series for this reason.


message 32: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne Park | 4 comments "Next to that is a cliffhanger of any kind that requires buying the next book to find out who died/got shot/etc."

Oh, I hate that! I always read reviews of the first book in a series, and if a review says the book ends in a cliffhanger, and "everything will be resolved in the next book" I will NOT buy Book One. I don't mind series in which each book is a stand-alone, with some continuing characters.


message 33: by David (new)

David Freas (quillracer) | 2201 comments I don't mind a story arc that spreads across two or three books, but it shouldn't be the main plot. That should be tied up at the end of the book.


message 34: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 182 comments I usually don't like cliffhangers that pretty much force you to buy the next one to see what happens and I have to admit that I started reading Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles and was shocked when I reached the end and it was exactly a cliffhanger (Watch next week to find out if Ranger Rick saves Nell from the speeding train ... type of thing) but I do enjoy his books and knew it was a six-book series, so yes, I am hooked and have to start book #4 soon.

I believe that cliffhangers are just too hard for us to all remember, especially if it takes a year or more for the following books to come out. Thankfully, I was able to read the first three books pretty much in a row and book 5 is already out ...


message 35: by Aditya (new)

Aditya | 1864 comments I too absolutely hate cliffhangers, it never works and feels like a cheap device used by an author to boost sales.

Quillracer wrote: "I don't mind a story arc that spreads across two or three books, but it shouldn't be the main plot. That should be tied up at the end of the book."

Agree with this.


message 36: by Julie (new)

Julie (jotis) | 2 comments The beginning needs to be set in an action. When a story starts out with a lot of boring monotonous description or background, I put it down.


message 37: by Karen (new)

Karen (xkamx) | 41 comments I'm beginning to hate cliffhangers. I get a lot of e-freebies that are book 1 of X. Now, even if they look interesting, I bypass them because I won't spend a lot to get the rest of the series (which winds up being only as long as a regular book, but can cost 2-3 times as much).

What takes me out of stories, however, are typos, poor spelling, and unintentional poor grammar. I get that one can't/won't catch every error when writing or editing, but some are so blatant that I get so annoyed that they weren't caught at some point. It makes me think the author just doesn't give a hoot.

I recently posted about a book I read where the author missed the apostrophe in the word "won't" EVERY time she used it. It got to the point where I was consciously counting the number of times it happened. How can you not see that error?? Yes, "wont" is a word and was spelled correctly, but wouldn't a grammar checker find at least a few times when "wont" wouldn't work in a sentence that needed the word "won't"?? "Will not" and "wont" are two different things.

I also get exasperated with the misuse of X and I. Johnny was NOT looking for X and I. He was looking for X and ME! UGH!! Lately, I've been annoyed with the misuse of "alright" (which, I don't think is a word, technically) and "all right" and "already and "all ready."

Poor writing or weird writing styles slow my reading pace, but usually don't take me out of a book the way poor grammar, misspellings, and typos do.


message 38: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 182 comments In one of the group threads (on Goodreads) someone mentioned how they hated books written in first-person. That's never been a problem with me in the past, but I have to say on the last book I read, it was a major irritation.

I finished The Poet by Michael Connelly because his mysteries are excellent and his other series are a pleasure to read but I don't think I'll try any others in the McEvoy series.


message 39: by David (new)

David Freas (quillracer) | 2201 comments Pamela wrote: "In one of the group threads (on Goodreads) someone mentioned how they hated books written in first-person. That's never been a problem with me in the past, but I have to say on the last book I read it was a major irritation.

I finished The Poet by Michael Connelly because his mysteries are excellent and his other series are a pleasure to read but I don't think I'll try any others in the McEvoy series."


The Scarecrow - the other book in the McEvoy series was a much better book in my opinion. Give it a try.


message 40: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 182 comments Quillracer wrote: "Pamela wrote: "In one of the group threads (on Goodreads) someone mentioned how they hated books written in first-person. That's never been a problem with me in the past, but I have to say on the l..."

Thanks Quillracer, I will. Somehow over the summer, I bought a lot of Connelly books. It will take me a while to get to Scarecrow.


message 41: by David (new)

David Freas (quillracer) | 2201 comments As a pharmacist and car guy, seeing a mistake about automobiles or drugs will do it.


message 42: by Karen (new)

Karen (xkamx) | 41 comments Quillracer wrote: "As a pharmacist and car guy, seeing a mistake about automobiles or drugs will do it."

I laughed when I saw this. I know that not everyone knows smaller details, but it can be annoying when you do know and an author gets it wrong.

I don't know about Pharmacy errors, but I read a book with a character who had a candy apple red 1964 Mustang convertible. I had to post a review that there were no 1964 Mustang convertibles (and, I believe, no candy apple red Mustangs that year either), that the first year for Mustang convertibles was 1966. Plus, technically, there are no 1964 Mustangs since the "1964-and-a-halfs" were really1965s.


message 43: by David (new)

David Freas (quillracer) | 2201 comments Yep. Unless that Mustang was repainted Candy Apple Red.

Although I must admit I made an error in the last review I posted. I called the author out for having a character look at a Chrysler Aspen. I missed that Chrysler had resurrected the name of a mediocre Dodge car from the late 70s for one of their SUVs on the market now.


message 44: by Janet (new)

Janet Stokes | 485 comments I hate rape scenes. No publisher should publish a book with one in them. It's okay if they are handled sensitively as an issue in women's fiction, but in thrillers it is men who tend to write them - like Steig Larsson in the Dragon Tattoo book and John Grisham in "A time to Kill." It makes me think they are pretending to be concerned while really being perverts. Grisham's recent comments about viewing child porn confirmed my suspicions, at least about him.


message 45: by Chris (new)

Chris Baez (chrisbaez) | 239 comments Janet wrote: Grisham's recent comments about viewing child porn confirmed my suspicions, at least about him.

Wow, I didn't know that, he is one of my favorite writers. I've probably read all his books. I have to find out about the context of that or those comments.


message 46: by Janet (last edited Nov 16, 2015 11:00PM) (new)

Janet Stokes | 485 comments Chris wrote: Wow, I didn't know that, he is one of my favorite writers. I've probably read all his ..."

Read below. There was an uproar about it some time ago.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014...

Used to be one of my favourite writers too, just like Woody Allen used to be one of my favourite directors until that c**p about his daughter came out.


message 47: by Chris (last edited Nov 16, 2015 11:42PM) (new)

Chris Baez (chrisbaez) | 239 comments It takes a lot to take me out of a book, I just bite down hard and finish it. However, I feel somewhat like Janet, but maybe a little further; explicit and detailed sexual acts such as rape, homosexual or heterosexual are somewhat of a turn off. Example: Sugar Rautbord's Sweet Revenge, it physically hurt to finish that book.


message 48: by Chris (new)

Chris Baez (chrisbaez) | 239 comments Janet wrote: "Chris wrote: Wow, I didn't know that, he is one of my favorite writers. I've probably read all his ..."

Read below. There was an uproar about it some time ago.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/20..."


Incredible, I don't know what to say, it is kind of shocking. I think he once mentioned being a Sunday School teacher. :-(

I wrote Woody Allen off for ever, I even stopped watching the NY Knicks basketball games due to the fact that he had a season ticket and they always showed him sitting there with his daughter/gf. He should have gone to jail.


message 49: by Janet (new)

Janet Stokes | 485 comments He should have gone to jail! That crime should have no statute of limitation.


message 50: by Leonard (new)

Leonard (leonardseet) | 2 comments If the plot isn't interesting, that would take me out of the story. Of course, the voice of narrator can also disassociate me from the story.


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