Monday, May 08, 2006

And what stops you reading...?

Justine Larbalestier over at her LJ asked a similar question the other day, actually in relation to killing off animals and whether that puts readers off...and if not, then what does?

I actually wrote the post on killing a cat to see if it would get a reaction. Nada. Maybe people were just too polite to tell me what they really thought. Or maybe they looked at the title and didn't read it! (It was absolutely true, I hasten to add. And I deliberately didn't mention that I am a cat person who is immeasurably distressed by stray cats in trouble, etc. However, I am also a very pragmatic farmer's daughter, so accidently killing a cat that had unhappily chosen to sleep in the engine of my car was, to me, more messy than traumatic.)

But back to the topic of this post. What stops you in your tracks when reading? I mean what actual subject matter, rather than poor writing and stale imagery, poor characterisation, overwriting, incorrect facts - all things which put me off every time.

Do sex scenes bore you to tears, as they do me (mostly)? Or is it a torture scene that will make you chuck the book across the room? Too much graphic violence? Killing off a child? Weepy deadbed scenes? Dream sequences that you the reader think are real only to have the character wake up? (Geez, I hate that one.)


Anonymous said...

Repetition. Puts me off every time. It doesn't matter what it is that's being repeated, but if's noticeable, then I'm outa there. Two examples on different scales...

Dale Elvy's first book, can't recall the title now, was good. Original, well writen, well constructed. His second book I couldn't even get a third of the way through because of the repetition of 'try and'. Not only is it just plain bad language, but when it pops up several times in one page, it's enough to drive a person mad.

David Eddings introduced me to fantasy with his Belgariad series, entrenched it with the Malorean and began to annoy me with the Elenium because I began to see the repetition of the characters. All the women had the same personalities and then men were only ever cast from about three different molds. I read everything up to the Redemption of Athalus, couldn't get passed the same old characters with different names and haven't read anything of his since.

Cheers, Lisa.

PS, I would have responded to the cat post but I lost my cat of ten years not long ago. It's still a little bit tender... :(

Glenda Larke said...

I gave up on Eddings for pretty much the same reason as you - but a lot earlier! Impatient, that's me.

"Try and" is fine in speech, because people do tend to say that - but in the body text it should be picked up by a copy editor, even if the author doesn't know it's bad grammar!