What always turns me off as a reader

I had a bit of a blog malfunction yesterday, when what I wrote suddenly disappeared. I rewrote and for some reason, me or a gremlin caused it to disappear again. As time was running out, I reposted something from a while ago on the same theme; I’d got a collection of answers to a question about reading, and turned it round to apply as warnings to writers.

This is what I should have posted yesterday except that it disappeared:

Quite a while ago I posted a collection of comments I’d come across in answer to the question ‘What makes you stop reading a book?’  I was quite amused by many of the replies, at the same time agree with them. Many were what you might expect, some were from an unusual perspective, some were just weird and some were, as you might t expect on a public forum, insulting or rude. However, I got to thinking of the question the other way round, for writers, not readers, ‘What puts people off reading your book?’  and that gave me some helpful reminders of what to avoid.

Here are some answers which came from a couple of people which made me chuckle, this is the order they came in, but I’ve created pretend characters of A and B:

A: Sentences that don’t make any sense, purple prose, useless description to hit word count, flowery language, a prologue.
B: I thought we agreed to drop this Prologue thing you have? Anyway you just perfectly described a Thomas Hardy novel.
A: Then he’s definitely not for me.
B: You never read Tess of the D’Ubervilles? Worst moment of my school life… Well that and when I had to sing Africa by Toto at the Talent show accompanied by Gavin on the recorder…..He had a cold….and didn’t know the tune to Africa!
A: Well this is awkward…

There were other comments which also amused me, even though the content was pertinent! I’m using imaginary A and B again, even though A might in fact be called Gavin:

A: Too much description always turns me off as a reader.  I’m definitely a proponent of the “show don’t tell” method of telling a story.
B: Poorly written sentences.  I call it illiterature.  For example, Stephen King.  Good concepts poorly written and poorly executed.
A: Yeah he’ll never make it as a writer, that King guy.

I think by now, B is feeling awkward and tries to strike out on a new quibble:

B: If it drags. Too slow or tame. Not enough action or suspense or if the characters are in no way likable or relatable. Lack of romance. Or if something is way too tropey and lacks a unique twist to compensate.
B: (re-reads what they wrote) … Jeez, that sounds picky….

Poor B, just couldn’t get it quite right! Intersting comments all the same.

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