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.