There are a lot of books out there. I’ve been making a list of stuff I would actually buy versus making a trip to the library, and Amazon has been remarkably helpful in making that task both easier and frustrating. I’ve also come up with another list.
Things that make me put a book down very, very quickly.
- Prologues. I see the word “prologue”, and if I was already iffy on the book, I click the little x in the browser and move on to the next prospective title. I’ve written on the subject of prologues before, but that was before I sampled fifteen books and found a terribly written and/or unnecessary prologue in TEN of them. Now, I’m just sick to death of writers not being able to commit to just starting their dang story.
- Italics. Gimmicky at best, and that tells you just about everything that’s wrong with them. Several on a page just puts me in mind of 16-year-old girls who squee over posters and write nothing but self-inserts no matter what they set out to do. Yes, even Ira Levin, who was not one of those. It doesn’t help that italics tend to also signify the worst writing on the page as well. I did mention the book that italicised all of its awful puns, didn’t I?
- This includes character thoughts. As far as I’m concerned, most inclusion of character thoughts in a third person narrative are just perspective changes. I.e., errors.
- Present tense. Just. No. Worst if in first person as well. It’s like walking in on someone doing something they oughtn’t, and then being shooed out of the room. Ew.
- A gaseous opening. If I can’t tell what’s going on or who the character is, then I’m not going to stick around to find out.
If I had made a note of the stuff that was bugging me, this list probably would have been longer, but I’m still trying to figure out how to get Amazon to give me recommendations based more on my grownup books than the fact that yes, I do still like to read YA and 9-12 books. I’m getting sick of Gail Carson Levine’s books being shoved in my face.