Five reasons I might not finish your book.

My kids are out of school in about two weeks, so I’ve really been pushing to get this rewrite done before I take a break from it. But last night my brain was burned out so I picked up a book I started a few days ago.

I stopped reading after six chapters.

Closed the book.

And decided not to finish it.

1. The first chapter was the best.

It had great emotion that made me care about the character. And then the initial conflict dissolved and the emotion evaporated in the next few chapters.

Don’t let this happen to you.

2. Lack of connection to the protagonist.

The story was told in first person and the voice was pretty good. But the internal conflict did not grab me on a personal level. The character would comment on the situation and other people but did not go deeper and make herself vulnerable.

Don’t let this happen to you.

3. Too many characters introduced at once with no connection to any of them.

Just like when we meet a large crowd at a party, it’s hard to remember them. But, if we have a real conversation with one person, we’ll remember them. As a reader we crave that connection. Too many characters with just physical description do not create that bond.

Don’t let this happen to you.

4. Well-worn paranormal plot with a lack luster twist.

An overdone plot really needs a huge twist that makes the reader think this story will be different than all the other ones out there like it that are written better. Without it…well, we all know what happens.

Don’t let this happen to you.

5. Writing that is just okay.

Let’s face it. We all recognize great writing. And when we read a book that combines great writing with a great story, we want to sleep with the book under our pillow and prop it up next to our computer. I think this is where practice and polish comes into play. And some natural talent.

Don’t let this happen to you.

You tell me. What are some reasons you’ve stopped reading?


59 Responses to Five reasons I might not finish your book.

  1. Marianne Smith June 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Great post, Laura! I’m working on the second draft of my first novel and you’ve given me some great points to evaluate. Thanks for that! Sure don’t want anyone putting my book down with no plans to pick it back up.

  2. Ghenet Myrthil June 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    Great post! I agree with this. It’s rare for me to stop reading a book but when I have, it’s been due to one of these reasons. I will definitely not let this happen to me!

  3. Jennifer Shirk June 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    Well, I was just sent a book that I won and I BARELY made it to chapter two. Chapter one was the protagonist (written in the first person) going on and on about how wonderful her life is and how pretty she is. Seriously.
    Her hubby was murdered but she doesn’t seem to care so I’m not sure why I should either. Bleh.
    I will give it another try later. Maybe.

  4. Mary Kate Leahy June 3, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    I will almost never stop reading a book. Even if I hate everything about it I try to power through, if only to rant about it later. If I think the book is promoting a bad message that can sometimes make me stop reading. Great post!

  5. Dianna Zaragoza June 6, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    I like to read in the evenings after work.

    If I get bored, I’ll stop reading…and my boredom is often associated with one of the problems you listed in your excellent blog.

    If the book is good, I make a point to come back later. If the book is really good, I may not get any sleep that night.

    Just my own personal barometer. I judge my own writing that way as well. If a scene makes me bored, I cut it. Period. Who’s going to find it interesting if I bore myself, and it’s my baby?

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