A new popular book, praise of the highest quality, amazing cover, compelling synopsis, and a short time to read. I start and realize the style doesn’t appeal to me. Disappointed, I try to read it, but usually abandon it before I finish.
Others love, love, love these stories and the authors have reached the perfect audience. I just don’t qualify and I wondered what aspects lost my attention.
I’ve narrowed it down to four styles that I tend to stay away from.
One Drama Packed POV with Little Action
I enjoy teenage angst in stories; it validates those awkward and emotional years. However, at some point the validation becomes excessive, and turns from “I know that feeling!” to “Make it stop!” A small portion of rich angst flavors the whole story, any more chips away at its beauty.
For me, a story coated with drama feels like my best-friend has taken over my mind for several days. Even though I anticipate the time with her, I’d rather not hear her every thought summed up in 100k words or less.
Another POV introduced into the book breaks up the internal voice and adds a new viewpoint. Especially when it’s from the perspective females worry over the most. The guy.
For example the girl might think this: He’s mad at me. I know it. He walked in, saw me, nodded, and kept talking on his phone. He only does that when he’s mad.
And then the next scene we get the guy’s perspective: Oh, there she is, I wish I could talk to her. At least I get to look at her cute dimpled smile while I finish convincing this difficult jerk to take back his crappy product.
Multi-POV, it’s the way to go.
Stylized and Figurative Language
You know, the books overwhelmed with metaphors, similes, accents, or stutters. In sporadic intervals this language brings a new angle and intrigue. The overuse becomes so predictable I can foresee the next metaphor before it pops into the text.
I understand the desire to include them, that transition to creative mode, clichés rejected, perfect comparisons found, and satisfaction of a show well done. However, every scene should include more dialog, internal voice, and action than metaphors, similes, and accents.
It’s perfect for back-story or short chapters of an alternate POV, but an entire book without a change is less like Shakespeare and more like a stuffy neighbor showing off.
Romance For No Reason
It’s possible for intended romance to lack romance; if the book is a romance than that’s a problem. All other books can do without the romance, especially if it doesn’t work out. The reader knows when it’s forced. I would rather its exclusion than its confusion.
Several issues with romance includes: the characters don’t know each other, no dialog has taken place between them, their dialog is always negative or disrespectful, it happens too fast, no redeeming qualities are present in one or both characters, or there is no evidence given that the characters actually like each other.
Romance requires a lot of care, preparation, and development. Anyone who writes romance should read at least ten romance novels before they include it. Knowing love doesn’t always transition to writing amazing romance.
History For The Sake of History
I know people enjoy their historical fiction. If the story takes place in Paris, readers expect abundant details. If the year is 1969, then Woodstock, hippies, long straight hair, and peace should appear somewhere in the story.
However, when the book’s theme doesn’t relate to the age, events, or structure of a building, it probably shouldn’t be included. Any past war that is irrelevant to the modern-day story should be brief in description, if described at all.
Just because the main character is reading a historical book about birds, it isn’t necessary to include a five-page quote from the book, unless your book is about birds. No matter how beautiful the text, the history of birds doesn’t belong in a science fiction fantasy romance.
Short descriptive and quick transitions move me through the story. The irrelevant history stalls it and I skim those parts. Any book that isn’t a historical fiction should exclude multi-chapter history lessons, unless it’s of a new world and the history provides substance.
What styles have turned you from a book? Are they popular or a rarity?
I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading my blog!
- Romance Sub Plots In YA: Are They Really Necessary?
- Good reasons for multiple POV
- Six Easy Tips for Self-Editing Your Fiction
- HOW TO WRITE A ROMANCE NOVEL: THE KEYS TO CONFLICT