1. Lucy E.
    Offline

    Lucy E. Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    898
    Likes Received:
    4

    What completely puts you off reading on?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lucy E., Sep 23, 2008.

    I thought it might be useful to know what puts you guys off reading past the first paragraph/page/chapter of a book.
    So...what puts you off reading past the first paragraph/page/chapter of a book?
     
  2. Gamecat
    Offline

    Gamecat Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    1
    Cliché is the biggest turn off for me. If I'm reading something that just reads like a thousand pieces before it I'll stop and find something else. For instance a fantasy novel that has goblins attacking a town which has to defend itself by using the sword of unpronounceable name I.E. the sword of yargylhrdygyl = me not going any further.

    Next up is overtly descriptive texts. Too much detail in a short story bores me. Does the description of a rusted bicycle, not matter how well written, really do anything for a story about a doomed love.

    My last big no-no is flow. If the narrative doesn't have flow to it then I'll get frustrated and start skimming. I guess flow include pace which is linked to overtly descriptive texts.
     
  3. lordofhats
    Offline

    lordofhats Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,023
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    The Hat Cave
    I agree Cliche is really annoying, especially obvious cliche. I find Anime often gives good advice:

    Things not to do in story telling:

    1. Reiteration. After seeing the same flashback or hearing the same sentence five times, I don't need it a sixth.

    2. Stating the obvious is the height of corny. "OMG it's a new enemy." No dip sherlock I haven't seen him before :eek:.

    3. Unnecessary dialogue and emotional outbursts are very annoying. Example: Someone dies and someone else falls to their knees and screams a prolonged "No."

    4. Avoid info dumps. If it can't be summed up in a few sentences don't do it (I should know, I'm a repeat offender :p)

    5. Everyone hate's recaps. What? I read fourteen chapters just to have those same fourteen chapters shoved down my throat all at once again?

    6. I also don't like beating around the bush. Get a move on and focus on the story don't suspend it in one place for an eternity.

    7. Rhetorical questions. I can't tell how abused they are.
     
  4. Wickerman1972
    Offline

    Wickerman1972 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minerva, Ohio US
    If I see the present tense being used I close the book immediately.
     
  5. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    An infodump prologue.
     
  6. NaCl
    Offline

    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,855
    Likes Received:
    58
    Boredom. I don't last very long with slow developing stories.
     
  7. Kylie
    Offline

    Kylie Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    273
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    America
    When I get bored
    When the story doesn't interest me
    When there is a lot of repetitive words
    When there are flashbacks
    When it keeps on stating the obvious
    When there same story has been told hundreds of times already
    When the story is 'choppy'
     
  8. Leaka
    Offline

    Leaka Creative Mettle

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Messages:
    5,825
    Likes Received:
    36
    Bold= I agree with all of these

    #2= ROFL, but I totally agree

    I also don't like cliches if I can predict what is going to happen in the next minute or two I'm closing the book.
    Also the words "Come to me and become my dark servant", then you know its going to be bad.
     
  9. Asuran
    Offline

    Asuran Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    0
    Anything where the antagonist is revealed within the first three chapters (note: not introduced, revealed).
     
  10. Last1Left
    Offline

    Last1Left Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    You know that box next to the Wendy's?
    A ridiculous amount of info crammed into the first sentence, none of which makes sense. I bought a book like that (can't remember the name), and tried to read it something like six times. I never did get off that first page...
     
  11. lordofhats
    Offline

    lordofhats Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,023
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    The Hat Cave
    lol yes. Anime is a serious abuser of cliche and just about every other bad story telling practice. For some odd reason though that's why we love it :p. It's reckless disregard for the fact that the presentation tends to suck is somehow overcome by what I like to call "that Japanese Magic." Man the Japanese know how to sell things :cool: (Normally i call you a fool for buying every Pokemon game but... :rolleyes:).
     
  12. Wickerman1972
    Offline

    Wickerman1972 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minerva, Ohio US
    That reminds me of something. The very first sentence of Gone South by Robert McCammon was:

    It was hell's season, and the air smelled of burning children.

    Ha ha, to me that's a real attention grabber. One of the best opening sentences I can remember reading. I know you were talking about bad opening sentences but it brought that good one to my mind.
     
  13. Carthonn
    Offline

    Carthonn Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    32
    When nothing really happens action or story wise. So yeah I'd agree with most of the people who said info dumps. I would find it very difficult to find anything cliche in the first chapter to be totally honest. I find the term to be thrown around so much it's lost any meaning.
     
  14. Prodigy
    Offline

    Prodigy Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    On the run from the badge
    If the main paragraph isn't interesting to me then I just drop the book. I really hate it when to much of the plot, or to much of the character is reavealed right away. It always irritates me.
     
  15. soujiroseta
    Offline

    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Harare, Zimbabwe
    when the first paragraph tries too hard to set the tone of the whole novel. i automatically put down the book and move on.
     
  16. Popsicle.culture
    Offline

    Popsicle.culture Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Now this is an interesting one, for me. Out of curiosity, why?
     
  17. Scattercat
    Offline

    Scattercat Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Under there.
    Because the present tense is really awkward to use in telling a story. It creates a lot of confusion, because we're not used to reading in that format, and it's most often used when:

    1) The author wants to be "different."

    2) The author wants to deconstruct narrative or some equally nonsensical horse-puckey.

    3) The author doesn't know any better.

    The present tense can be used to great effect, but I'd never put up with it for anything longer than a short story. I recall a book I read when I was young - Shiloh, I think it was - that was written in the present tense, and it drove me clear up a wall. It's just too... too now to go on for so long.

    More to the point, it's not the way things are usually done, and the way things are usually done is not broken and in need of repair. This is actually advice I read in a book on website design, but I think it is very widely applicable: don't do something your user (reader) is not expecting unless you gain more functionality than you lose in the cost to the user/reader's attention span. People don't have a lot of patience in general, and if something presents an unexpected difficulty and doesn't provide an immediate reward, they're not going to bother with it.

    Change for the sake of change is not worthwhile change. Unless there's a pressing reason why a story needs to be told in such an immediate tense, then it's not necessary and should be avoided.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    If not much happens. I am trying to get into the fifth book in the Dune series, Heretics of Dune, but I a having a hard time, because not much is happening. If 3 pages goes by with out much action or interesting dialog, I am done. The only reason I am pushing my self to read this 5th Dune novel, is because I really want to like it, because I enjoyed the first 3, and the 4th was kind of cool, although slow as hell.

    I will no longer read Agatha Christie because nothing really happens in the beginning of her novels. Snore.
     
  19. Wickerman1972
    Offline

    Wickerman1972 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minerva, Ohio US
    Why? Because it's horrible! I don't know about you but to me...I walk down the road and stop at the shrubs lining her yard. I look around but don't see her anywhere. I decide to make my way to her car...is something I just can't tolerate. Writing should be done in the past tense like this...I walked down the road and stopped at the shrubs lining her yard. I looked around but didn't see her anywhere. I decided to make my way to her car. The present tense is just terrible. Maybe it's just a thing with me but I don't like it. Keep in mind that was just a few sentences so may not have seemed like a big deal but after a while it gets very tiresome. Not only that but I presented it in the way that is most kind to it, the first person perspective. When someone tries to do third person narrative in the present tense things really get ugly. Another thing is that my example was all about action which is also easier. Imagine the results when an author tries describing what a character is thinking and does so in the present tense and in the third person perspective. It can end up downright comical even if the writer is good.
     
  20. Palimpsest
    Offline

    Palimpsest Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    5
    I read this one book, Spinners, a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin that was told in third-person (close-focus) present tense. I didn't notice until two-thirds of the way through, but I really liked it once I did. I think the tense made it less of "another rehash of a fairy tale that everybody knows the ending to," and involved instead the moment, and the voices of characters who didn't know how it was going to end.


    I found The Fellowship of the Ring a lot more engaging than my brother led me to believe (he describes a lot of books as "dragging"-- if they were thicker than a steak, he'd often assume they would be and hello! epic...) but I really wanted to like The Two Towers. The annoying thing, I can't exactly pinpoint what got me skimming and then dropping it to go straight for The Return of the King and hoping nothing important happened.
    (Might've been all those courtly parties.)

    Three different angles on every single act Ceddie Fauntleroy performs, none of them fresh, got me to stop reading that.

    The Lovely Bones I stopped halfway through, since nothing was happening. The conflict set up, as the crime committed... they never got close to catching the bad guy; the true main conflict, I didn't feel was building at all-- and the big twist, the one my friends who loved this book begged me to continue reading until I reached it, wasn't. That was the point I rolled my eyes and tossed it away.

    I've read of other readers who did that as early as the last line of the first chapter, so it looks like adventurous phrasing can be really off-putting too.
    this was my Evensong.

    Well, I thought it was pretty, but I think it could have been a clue... the novel's overall effect was "an aesthetic poet attempts prose" drawing out a peaceful tempo for way too long.
     
  21. Shadow Dragon
    Offline

    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    In the land of the gods
    Like others have said, the info dump and lack of action is a big turn off. Though to me the biggest turn off is if I don't like the mc or don't think the mc is interesting. I also hate it when the writer keeps repeating the moral of the story over and over again. Particularly if I disagree with it.
     
  22. ecanusia16
    Offline

    ecanusia16 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here's a link I just stumbled across. Pretty much sums it up for me. What agents hate. Although I'm no agent *haha* they're readers too!
     
  23. CobaltLion
    Offline

    CobaltLion Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Atlanta
    I once read "Herbert West: The Reanimator" by H.P. Lovecraft. The story was only about 15 pages long, but at the beginning of each new scence he'd recap everything that had just happened, even if it was only a few paragraphs ago. I really hate that in a story.


    I also dislike Deus Ex Machina events in a story. Really, if you can't even plausably set up for some fantastic event, then don't bother with it.
     
  24. Scattercat
    Offline

    Scattercat Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Under there.
    To be fair to old Howard Phillips, "Reanimator" was originally published as a serial in a magazine, with one "chapter" per month. The recaps were kind of necessary at the time.
     
  25. CobaltLion
    Offline

    CobaltLion Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Hmm. I suppose that would have made a differance in my thoughts on the story. When I read it, it had been compiled into a sinlge running story with what felt like an excess of recaping.
     

Share This Page