That pivotal moment…
Do you have a point of no return when reading a book? Are there unforgivable sins an author can commit that stops you reading in your tracks? I believe there are, here are a few I’ve come across.
1. The fundamentals of writing are off: This can be anything from really poor spelling, to incorrect grammar usage or a combination of both. It can also include books that seem to have no plot, stories that don’t seem to fully form ideas and resolutions and also when the author is obviously selling the story for other formats (like the big screen).
No one thing in that list is usually enough to make the throw my kindle across the room, but a hefty combination of any of them will certainly sway me.
2. Unrealistic characters: Also sometimes referred to as the Too Stupid To Live (TSTL) character. When a character that is 12 years old reacts to a situation better than most adults, that’s just wrong. When they make decisions based on some random piece of information instead of the glaringly obvious or when they are either too perfect, too stupid or too flawed to be real.
I haven’t come across many of these, but I have been privy to a couple and they made me want to cry. If your protag can’t react like a 12-year-old if s/he’s 12, then change him/her. Or at least show the reader a volume of past experiences that might have matured him/her mentally.
3. Jamming beliefs down the readers throat: This one is a personal one for me. I dislike any book where the protag or even the author when writing tries to force you to convert your beliefs, thoughts or dreams to theirs. I have seen this done in a couple of ways, one being constant repeating of the same message throughout a book and/or forcing mass amounts of information about said subject at the reader.
Let’s be clear here, I have no problem with religion or faith or anything like that, you can believe whatever you wish to believe in. So, I am all for the character/s in the book being religious, praying, talking to Yoda or God or whoever, showing tenacity in adhering to their beliefs of whatever kind, following their dreams, learning a new skill or lesson, but I will NOT read a book where the author is obviously trying to convince/convert the reader of that same thing.
4. Seeing the movie/TV series first: A rather odd one I know, but occasionally this has been an issue for me. The prime example of this is with Dexter. I was introduced to the story of our lovable serial killer by way of Foxtel. I instantly enjoyed the on-screen presence of Michael C. Hall and his portrayal of the character, Dexter. I quickly finished watching Seasons 1 and 2 of the show and rushed out to buy the books by Jeff Lindsay, alas the representation of Dexter on-screen was too different to the character in the books that it became really rather confusing to read.
It didn’t feel like I was reading about Dexter, but his shoddy cousin who happened to look kind of like him and act kind of like him. It was a rather strange experience. Hence, the book earnt its place on my couldn’t finish shelf.
What rules did authors break, what sins did authors commit or what else might stop you from reading? Share with us below.