I mentioned this a couple of days ago… I came across a question on social media about what stops a person reading a book. There were over a hundred and fifty answers and comments – and it really intrigued me. As a writer I want people to read my books, so I should maybe take note of what puts people off!
I looked through the responses and they covered a wide range of different irritations, some expected, some unexpected, some a bit weird! There was one wonderful phrase which covers most of it – ‘eye torture.’ I began to group them together and came up with several headings, or categories:
- poor editing
- sentence structure
- descriptive language
- dialogue and conversation
- language and vocabulary
- writing style
- lack of pace – i.e. it’s boring
Poor editing came top of my list because many of the other off-puts, or put-offs would be eliminated if care was taken when going through a ‘finished’ piece of writing.
- bad editing/poor (or no) editing.
- Inexcusable, repeated typos
- sloppy and egregious and too many typos and/or outright errors typos.
- errors (and repeated errors) – be it spelling, grammatical, or some other form of eye torture.
- no paragraphs.
- forgetfulness (repeating ideas, vocabulary, even sentences and descriptions)
Someone wrote they were put off by “…the first page; if I’m halfway through and the writing gets bad, I kinda have to stop reading.”
That might be harsh but it is what readers do! They – and I should say we because I do it too, pick up a book and have a look at the first page and I too kinda have to stop reading!
There was a warning comment about bad or careless editing, and it made me take note: “bad editing. In this case, someone who tried to do it themselves… To bad, because it’s an awesome story concept.”
How terrible! To have an awesome story concept and get let down not by the writing but by bad editing!! Heck! I self-edit mostly, because I have no-one else to do it! My husband very kindly reads my stories and points out typos and errors, but there is more to editing than that.
A lot to be considered.. more soon…
In the meantime, please read my books, and please let me know of any ‘bad editing’ or any of the other inadvertent off-puts/put-offs you find!
My featured image is of the sleeping fisherman – I must remind myself not to be a sleeping fisherwoman when i start editing!