Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Insecure Writers' Support Group: In The Beginning.....



Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I don't know why I torture myself but I've been researching what makes readers pick up book and continue reading them and by and large there have been lots of comments about people giving books a certain number of chapters or pages before they tend to give up. If you're anything like me (and thank goodness there aren't more readers like me) you tend to pick up a book already on the offensive, practically looking for reasons to put it down in favour of other pursuits.
      I normally try and give a book a few chapters. If there's not anything in there that hooks me than I won't bother picking it up again. What I've come to realise recently is that my few chapters rule is majorly flawed because there are books which take a while to build up. Sometimes books have to get all of the boring stuff out of the way before the action really kicks in. I almost gave up on To Kill a Mockingbird because of the tedious first chapter and I'm eternally grateful that I didn't.
      Of course this has made me go through the first few chapters of my own WIP with a fine toothed comb and as a result I've done about three revision of the first chapter alone. I'm at a point now where I am thoroughly sick of my WIP but I live in perpetual fear that it's still not good enough and won't hook anyone in. So tell me, what are your rules for picking up a book? Are you one of those readers who can't stop reading a book regardless of how much you dislike it? Or are you like me mercilessly dropping books like flies?

13 comments:

  1. I used to persevere and see a 'bad' book through. Now my mantra is too many good books...can't waste time if I'm not hooked early on. I do like books that ramble a bit like TKAM. These days it would probably be rejected.
    I hear some editors only give you till Chapter 3. That's why I've had my first 3 chapters critiqued to death...now i'm busy editing any boring bits out of the rest. Good luck!

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  2. Like Denise, I used to power through, but not anymore. I try to make it to the middle at least, but if it's not good, I give up.
    And yes, that does place a lot of pressure on us as writers!

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  3. I give a book 75-100 pages, but the ones I have doubts about in the first 15 pages I almost always give up on by page 100. I like tightly plotted books, and some authors are in love with their own prose and characterizations. That's fine for some readers but not for me. I think the saddest thing is when friends recommend a book that they love but I try it and just don't like it. It happens a lot. I stop reading two thirds of the books I start...

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  4. I pick up a book expecting to read it, and if I have to put it down because it's that awful, I'm not happy at all!

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  5. I don't know if I have any rules, more like personal preferences. If the premise sounds interesting, or promising, or similar to another book I've enjoyed, or it's by an author I've read before and really like their writing, I'll be inclined to read it. If it doesn't sound interesting enough, I probably won't bother, unless I hear from a fellow blogger I trust that it's worth a read.

    Once I start a book, it's hard for me to be willing to not finish it. Not that I will force myself to suffer through a horrible book--once it starts to become unbearable, I start skimming to find out what happens in the end. That's just me though. I can't help but want to know what happens. Lol. :P

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  6. I think a book needs to use the first chapter to get to the point rather than spending so much time setting up the story. The reason I read is for the story--not all that setup. So, a bit of prepping and orienting the reader can be done and then, off to the races.

    Anyway, I want to see what you're doing with Seeders', so let me see what you've written!

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  7. It depends on the book, most books will only get a page or so before I give up, although, if the premise sounded really good, I'll keep going until the end of the first chapter. I want things to get moving, but, every now and then I find a read where the language is so good and the characters so truthful, that I want to keep reading even if nothing much happens for the first few chapters. Has to be darn good to get me that far though.

    In a store, I'm mostly all about the cover, then the blurb, then the opening paragraph. If I like all those, I'll buy it. Online it's mostly the cover that sells the book, sometimes I'll read the blurb, but I never bother with the free chapters.

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  8. I'm a very picky reader. Sometimes, if a book doesn't catch my attention after a few pages, or the writing style irks me, I won't pick it up again. Other times, I'll try to force myself through it, but if it's a book I'm not really liking, I usually end up stopping half way. I never really understood those who picked up a book and hated it and continued reading. If it's a horrible book that I can't get through, I'd rather spend my time on a book that I enjoy reading, rather than torturing myself, only to be disappointed.

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  9. Everyone has their own rules about this. I don't. Sometimes I finish, sometimes I don't. I do think it a bit much when someone on Goodreads or whatever declares that "I dropped this book after eight pages!" On the other hand, there are those who will read an entire trilogy despite hating the first book! I mean, why? Unless it's so you can have the fun of writing a witty review that everyone will enjoy more than the book! ;-) these are two extremes; I suspect most people are in between.

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  10. It usually depends on what I've heard about the book. If it's a book everyone raves about, I'll usually slog through to the end even if I don't like it in hopes that at some point I'll see what everyone else likes. Otherwise, I usually give books until about a third or sometimes half of the way in, because I know some books just take a while to get started (unless the MC drives me crazy, in which case I'll give up earlier).

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  11. I usually choose a bk based on someone elses recommendation - a person I trust cos we usually like the same stuff. After maybe a chapt, I usually know if I should keep reading. Im a bit OCD in that I don't like to NOT finish a book ( even if I hate it). So a slow beginning etc, wont stop me from reading further. There are things that make me chuck a book away tho - stupid and excessive gutter humor/sex ( there just seem to be so many of thse bks right now) and im like Karen - if an MC is driving me nuts, then forget it.

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  12. I am one of those people who will not finish a book if I don't like it. I don't have a firm rule about how far I'll read. I will generally quit when I get overly annoyed or bored.

    It's so hard with your own writing, esp first books in a series. There is often a lot of worldbuilding that has to be done for the rest of the series to build on. Balancing between story and worldbuilding/set-up is something I constantly struggle with. I haven't found the perfect answer yet. :(

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  13. I have a hard time quitting a book I've started. I say I have a "50 pages rule" but I'll still stick with a book I don't like. What I've found is that some books I end up liking, (even if the first 50 pages aren't great) as long as I like the characters. I'm ok if it takes awhile for the action to start if I'm invested in the people.
    But if I start out not liking the characters, I usually end up disliking the book.

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