What throws you out of a story?
Posted by Kate Parker Mar 13 2017, 12:21 am
Even RWA seems to be asking what throws you out of a story with their question about adding a DNF rating to the RITA judging. So today, we’re going to have an informal Kate wants to know poll.
I’ll start it off with a particular dislike of mine. Info dumps. I was reminded of this recently when I read a smashing story that had me turning the pages even as I grumbled about the numerous info dumps. These were on World War II and I imagine many readers wouldn’t know this information, but I do, and while some were added cleverly, some left me shaking my head. The one that had nothing to do with the story had me gnashing my teeth. I don’t care how interesting you find it, if it has nothing to do with the story, leave it out!
Then there’s the really? character action that makes me want to shake the author. No jet lagged forty year old male when kept from his bed late at night by a mysterious summons is going to look in the mirror and think about the dimple in his chin and other facial features. That really? moment nearly stopped me near the beginning from reading The Da Vinci Code, which I enjoyed. TSTL heroines who go down into the basement in their nighties knowing there’s a homicidal maniac on the loose are the best really? character actions in the movies.
I know one author who can’t get past a misplaced modifier without making a note of it. Having been laughed at by any number of critique partners over the years, I am a recovering misplaced modifier in training.
Bad editing, bad grammar, bad proofreading. We’ve all seen it.
I’ve been taken to task by English readers of my English set stories for using Americanisms in my stories. Guilty as charged. I do better each story, and make a new mistake.
Please add to Kate’s poll with your own favorite reasons for throwing the book against the wall or just giving up on the story. And let us know how many chances you give an author before you are thrown out of the story for good.
Kate Parker tries not to be guilty of all these failings on a daily basis. Check out the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries and the Deadly Series to see if she ever succeeds. www.KateParkerbooks.com