One would think they’d never see those words posted on a blog written by a publisher and confirmed bibliophile. A disposable book? Trule. Yes, there are books that I’ve attempted to read that, in my mind, are disposable. Fortunately, most of what I read now are eBooks, so I don’t feel nearly as bad when I don’t want to finish a book. Not throwing my iPad across the room, however, is very challenging at times.
Why would I, a publisher, author, and bibliophile, be willing to dispose of a book? There are a few characteristics that will make a disposable book to me.
- Annoying, stupid characters. This can even happen in a second book in a series. Recently, I downloaded a YA paranormal romance. It was book one of a series. (Not a standalone type of series either.) I devoured the first book, download a sample of the second, and started on book two. The hero was starting to irritate me. Well, both the heroine and the hero were irritating me by the end of book one. I was hooked enough to want to finish and delve into book two, but I managed about 20 pages before I just stopped reading. The hero was just too irritating. He whined; he pouted; he did the whole teen boy thing. (Apparently, I no longer have patience for that nonsense. LOL) There was even one time I started reading a tween horror book. You know it’s bad when, within the first two pages, you want every single good character to die. (grin)
- Plot devices. I hate plot devices. What are they? These are devices authors use to justify where the story is going. Don’t all books contain these? Sort of. The really good ones, you don’t notice them. Matter of fact, you rejoice in them because they just make sense. The ones that don’t work? You curse them, and they destroy any enjoyment of the story you could glean. This happened recently with one of my daughter’s books. Lily and I read together sometimes, usually books she will enjoy but might be beyond her abilities. She loves anything fantasy.
So, we picked up a book, the beginning of the series, at the library a few weeks ago. It didn’t take long for one of the characters to annoy me. (Strike one.) We keep reading because Lily is invested. The annoying character keeps disobeying the rules and finally ends up in some serious trouble. (Turned into a mutant animal by fairies.) His grandfather manages to get him turned back to normal, but does the kid learn? No, he continues to disobey rules because, well, he’s eleven and an idiot. However, his idiocy and arrogance end up with people getting killed and the safe house they were in destroyed. At this point, I have to put the book down. I am ready to strangle the author. To me, this was a plot device. This event is the linchpin of the entire series. Without this event, the following adventures would not happen. But, in my opinion, it’s a plot device combined with an irritating character. I refused to read anymore under the guise that it was too scary for Lily. I was so angry at the author I visualized breaking his computer and imprisoning him so he could never write another series like this again. LOL
- Unnecessary POVs. Yes, these happen all of the time. If I am reading a romance, I really only want to read a scene from the hero and heroine’s POV, if there are more than one. That’s it. Anymore, and you will start to annoy me. Why? The vast majority of the time, these other POVs are unnecessary, distracting, and ruin the rest of the story for me. This happened just the other day. I decided I wanted to read for recreation. I don’t do this very often. So, I searched the iBookstore and downloaded a sample. (sigh) I had such high hopes. A historical romance set during the American Revolution with a love affair between the third son of a British peer and an intrepid, American lass. Alas, those hopes were dashed by stupid, unnecessary POVs. ARGH! Now, I know exactly what is going to happen and why. I’d read 150 “pages.” There were still over 450 to go. When you start asking yourself, “How much longer?” and rolling your eyes, it’s time to put the book down before you hurt something. (My iPad.)Yes, I’ve read books with more than two POVs that have worked. They are few and far between and rarely romance.
- Cringe worthy dialogue. Ever read a book where the dialogue is so bad you laugh because if you don’t you’ll cry? Yeah. That. That will do it.
- Poor grammar and punctuation. I can handle a few punctuation issues and wrong word usage, depending on bad it is. Those slip through even when you have several eyes on an MS. But when they are all over the place and a word usage is obviously for the purpose of showing how smart the author is? Nope. Not working. Shows the exact opposite and only irritates me.
- Inaccurate historical facts or language. Two examples: the saying “hell bent for leather” was used in a medieval romance within the first two pages. I deleted that sample within seconds. The other was also a medieval romance. This time, the author had named a French king Jacques. WTF? No. No! NOOOOOOO! How hard is it to check the names of the French kings of the time period you are writing about especially when you use a date?
“But it’s fiction,” the author might say. Yeah, but it’s historical fiction. When writing historical fiction, you better have your facts straight. Readers will know… or at least we used to know.
- The promise of something and never delivering. I downloaded a free “book” that really was the first three chapters of a novel. The writing was so bad, and, by about 40 pages in, a new character POV was being introduced almost every single page. I slogged through it trying to understand what all of the 5 star reviews were about. However, when I got to the end and it turned out to just be a teaser, I was livid. Never will I ever read that author again. The same result will happen when an author makes an implicit promise made at the beginning of a novel and it doesn’t happen. (Eg. Not only will all the good guys live, they will live happily ever after.) That will piss me off. HAHAHA It seems I’m easy to piss off.
I am sure there are others, but these are seven major offenses that will result in me deleting the book and never reading that author again.
Find out what other authors on this Round Robin blog topic think.
* Anne Stenhouse
* Beverley Bateman
* Connie Vines
* Diane Bator
* Fiona McGier
* Ginger Simpson
* Geeta Kakade
* Heidi M. Thomas
* Margaret Fieland
* Rhobin Courtright
Inaccuracy of historical facts — oh, I’d forgotten how much that irritates me! Great post.
Thanks, Robin. Those little inaccuracies are maddening, aren’t they?
All great reasons you’ve listed! I hope new writers are reading our round robin, because there is a lot to learn here!
There is, but will they see and say, “I don’t do that”? LOL You know, I’m sure I did it at one time. LOL
Hi Marcia, I’ll keep coming back to re-read the publisher’s pov!
Curiously, about pov, although I am irritated by head-hopping and really try to avoid it, it was once a very popular way to write.
Anne (who writes historical romance and will now go and look up the names of British kings in her period. Think it was always George, but that’s what research is for, n’est pas?)
I know head-hopping was once very popular. I used to read a lot of books with that in high school. LOL Only with age did it start bothering me. LOL Maybe I’m just becoming crotchety. It’s good to know the monarchs of the time period, especially if you mention them and the year the story is set.
Now that I think on it, the author named the king Pierre. No King Pierre either. LOL
Sorry Marci, see an ‘a’ slipped on….Anne
It’s okay. I’m used to it, although I do prefer my name over Marcia. Imagine growing up with that name in the 70s when The Brady Bunch was popular. o.O Everyone asked if my “real” name was Marcia. Um, no. LOL
What a comprehensive list, Marci! Obviously you read with an editor’s eye even when for pleasure, eh? Hard to turn off habits. I’m an English teacher used to grading essays, and I do the same thing. I mean, if a book is being published, presumably it got edited, right? Or at least spell-checked? And I don’t mean by your Aunt Sally who loves everything you write!
I try to turn the editor off, Fiona, but I’m not very successful at it. Nine times out of ten, I’m editing the book. LOL
I’ll add one, that drives me CRAZY, when authors can’t keep their own facts straight. I always ask, one, if you wrote the book how is it that in chapter one the POV character’s wife is a school teacher, and then in chapter two she is a lawyer and only a day has passed–how did you forget that? Or not notice it on rewrites and edits? And TWO how did your editor miss that?
I’ll stop reading right there.
Ooo… I forgot that one. That one drives me nuts, too.