I’m beginning to go through my list of over 150 comments in response to a question about what puts readers off finishing a book. It’s going to take a while to properly (if unscientifically) analyse what people think, but in general the comments fall into several categories:
- the writing
- the characters
- the plot
- the author intruding into the story
- the story being boring
- to many and too graphic sexual descriptions/story-lines
- quirky comments
Just picking on one area, characters, the same thoughts are often repeated; however, I’m going to compress and combine them, but here’s the first dozen or so:
- if the characters are in no way likeable or relatable; characters I don’t care a whit about.
- losing faith in the protagonist
- weird as **** names
- when the author kills off a favourite/compelling/sympathetic character.
- when characters start speaking in a way people never would.
- if I don’t care about any of the characters
- new characters who appear close to the end of the novel and are suddenly important … I hate that
- an insufferable protagonist; someone who is selfish and careless, yet they are written about them as if he or she is wonderful.
- when characters do things out of character for the sake of a twist/complication, especially if they know better than to do it. Irks me!
- characters being purposefully dumb for the sake of forcing plot or scenes to play out in a certain way, this is a major pet peeve.
- useless characters, bad dialogue, lack of direction.
- Character motivations which don’t make sense.
This list is only a first draft! More to come