Victoria A. Jeffrey's authorly doings. . .

Friday, December 2, 2011

What makes me stop reading a book

I was on one of my favorite forums, again, reading info and gleaning what I could and I ran across a thread asking authors a question: what's a turn off in another author's book? I didn't answer the thread but I read through it and after seeing the various answers, I suppose that I'm more lenient than some people are when it comes to what is acceptable and what isn't. I can put up with typos and errors as long as they aren't on every single page of the book and if the story is good I can overlook such things unless they are absolutely outrageous mistakes.

However, there are two things that I find unforgivable - terrible covers and despicable characters. The covers for my own books with the exception of The Winter Wolves (a beautiful cover done by Claudia McKinney) aren't what you would call top notch work, but I think they are decently designed. I can and will overlook covers done in PowerPoint if they are designed decently and the writing looks good. The story is ultimately what is important.

Once I get to the story, there is one unforgivable sin that an author can commit and earn my undying disdain - loathsome characters. I cannot stand a story full of unpleasant, despicable unsympathetic characters who never redeem themselves. If I'm going to read a book and spend time in that "world" then I need to be able to sympathise with a character in the story. I need to understand and identify in some way with his POV or relate to him in some way. Don't get it twisted! I don't need a book full of big, fluffy bunnies but you've got to give me something to work with! A protagonist who is vicious or brutish, awful in every way, and a cast of characters who are hateful or bad with no redeemable qualities whatsoever is a book that I will set aside and I will NEVER pick up any other book from that author again.

To be honest, it's been many years since I've read a book like this and I've seen far more films with this issue than books. Luckily, the vast majority of authors out there don't write stories completely devoid of sympathetic characters. There is always at least one character that has some human qualities that I can latch on to so there's a good chance that I will go through life and rarely have to deal with a book full of characters that make me want to strangle them and the author who wrote it!

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