1. Divorescent
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    Divorescent New Member

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    What makes a piece of writing hard to read?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Divorescent, Jun 18, 2016.

    I find that when every sentence is long and full of description, it's hard to focus on the reading. What other things can make reading a piece difficult?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    That sort of thing depends on the reader, and in my case on my mood. I like a lot of lengthy, descriptive writing, with very long sentences. It's not hard for me to read. Sometimes, I'm not in the mood for it, and I read works with much shorter, lean sentences. But to me it's not a question of difficulty, it's a question of style and what I feel like reading.
     
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  3. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Long chapters that drag on for 20+ pages.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    What about books without chapters, do those still count? :)
     
  5. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends on the writing. I read the Old Man and the Sea in one sitting, but Of Mice and Men took me a month.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I'm trying to think of recent books that don't have chapters. Scott Smith's books A Simple Plan, and The Ruins both lack them. Most of the other ones that come to mind are from a bygone era.
     
  7. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like to think I'm busy (I'm not, I just have strange priorities), so I like books with succinct, meaningful chapters. That's one of the reason why All the Light We Cannot See is my favorite book.
     
  8. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    What makes a book hard to read?

    Small print
    Terrible handwriting/odd font
    inadequate lighting
    excesive lighting
    illiteracy

    Okay, kidding aside:
    -terrible spelling can make something hard to read. If I have to look at a word for 4 seconds and try and figure out what it's supposed to say, that's going to kick me out of the story.
    -Big square blocks of text. I like to look before I leap in, and If it looks too solid I start to have doubts, excuses, and did someone just call my name?
    -Overly preachyness. I can understand a few paragraphs of preaching to show how a character feels, but 10 pages in and I feel like i'm reading the bible.
     
  9. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Dense paragraphs. If I see huge walls of text I'm immediately put off. I don't mind writing without a lot of dialogue so long as the writing is interesting
    and colorful. But it's still a lot to take in. I prefer shorter paragraphs.
    colorful spelling.
    Sometimes an offbeat style.
    rough drafts
    Misplaced modifiers.
     
  10. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    • Poor grammar - mostly sentence structure that makes it hard to figure out what's going on or over- or under-punctuating.
    • Word choice - when every other word is something kind of antiquated or doesn't really fit (whether it's thesaurus overdose or the word was chosen for poetic value rather than what it really means).
    • Not necessarily description, but when a sentence is just super long with nowhere to take a breath, or when they're convoluted with a ton of asides.
    • Paragraphs that include multiple topics that should obviously be broken up.
    • Dialog lodged into the middle of paragraphs. Dialog that lacks tags/beats any indication of who's saying it. Dialog that doesn't sound like how actual people talk.
    • Repetition / over-explaining. Also logical leaps that haven't been explained enough.
    • Gratuitous descriptions (especially of things that don't matter).
    • Characters who behave in ways or say things that don't make sense, or are just generally assholes.
    These things all annoy me because I used to or still do them :p
     
  11. Kerilum
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    Kerilum Member

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    Dialogue tags that over-exaggerate. Those are quite awful to read and make me feel as if a child had written it.
     
  12. Zorg
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    Zorg Member

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    Then again, it could just be the story. I read a novel from someone in my writer's group recently and it just meandered. Four hundred pages of "Well...?"
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    - When nothing happens after a few pages :D As much as I like character development and regard it as the thing that takes a good story to being a great story, I want a story. I came for a story, now give me a story, not a character trudging along talking and talking and talking :supersleepy:

    - if a book starts with a list, or some supposedly "non-fiction" treaty/important document. That's perhaps the fastest way to turn me off a book.

    - Overly bland language, as found in a lot of YA...
     
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  14. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I misread your post and thought you'd written: "Four hundred pages of "Will...?"

    My MC is called Will and that comment gave me a sinking feeling for a second :cry:
     
  15. Zorg
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    Zorg Member

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    Ah, I should have been a bit more clear. My point was that this novel I read really had a lack of coherency: too many characters, sort of a watered-down NorCal boomer vibe that doesn't translate well to today... things that all added up to 'huh?'
     
  16. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    Poor rhythm and clunky word choice can make a work hard to read. As mentioned above the lack of motivation, stakes, or conflict will make it boring.

    Regarding style, gushy descriptions of ridiculously adorable summer homes anthropomorphized by the author will make me stand up, walk to the nearest lake, and heave the book in. This is something I cannot abide.
     
  17. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Haha yeah I got that. I had it in my head that Will was boring, prompting the comment "Four hundred pages of Will, seriously?" (that's not what you said, and you have never read my novel - but my sleep-deprived mind read that anyway)

    I'm surprised you made it through that novel you speak of, however. I would've given up after chapter 1 and told the writer my issues with it, and moved on :whistle: I'm not a patient reader :-D
     

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