What readers don’t want

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:

  1. if the characters are in no way likeable or relatable; characters I don’t care a whit about.
  2. losing faith in the protagonist
  3. weird as **** names
  4. when the author kills off a favourite/compelling/sympathetic character.
  5. when characters start speaking in a way people never would.
  6. if I don’t care about any of the characters
  7. new characters who appear close to the end of the novel and are suddenly important … I hate that
  8. an insufferable protagonist; someone who is selfish and careless, yet they are written about them as if he or she is wonderful.
  9. 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!
  10. 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.
  11. useless characters, bad dialogue, lack of direction.
  12. Character motivations which don’t make sense.

This list is only a first draft! More to come

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