Friday, August 19, 2011

Off to a S—L—O—W start

I consider myself pretty easy—an easy reader that is. I generally like most books I read, but when I come across one I don’t like I’m never sure what to do. Keep reading? Stop reading? I will admit I feel like a failure stopping.

I’m currently reading a highly praised, highly recommended, 600+ page adult fantasy debut and I want to hit myself over the head with it. Yikes.

What are the problems?

The slow start: OH MY GOSH! I’m 80 pages in and NOTHING has happened. NOTHING! I have no sense of the plot and even worse—I have no sense of who the MC is. I can deal with a slow start. A lot of books I love take a while to build—the difference is they do eventually build.

Terrible cover copy: I have no sense of what this story is about. I even went on to Goodreads to try and unravel the mystery, but it was no help. I have a sinking feeling—there is no plot. *sigh*

Telling not showing: So far I’ve read very little showing. Yuck. The actual writing only goes to add another layer of dislike.

If this book hadn’t been recommended to me by people I trust I would chuck it out the window. They keep telling me, “It gets better.” But will it really get better for me?

Maybe I needed to read this so I would have a firsthand experience with “what not to do”. Agents have been saying this forever, but now I REALLY believe them :)
1. Give readers a sense to the plot and stakes early on
2. Engage readers early
3. Have a strong character voice
4. If something is boring leave it out

Maybe I will give it 100 pages. That’s fair right? But as I look at this book sitting next to my chair—I’m already bored.


E.R. King said...

Isn't it disappointing when you pick up a book you're so excited to read and then it's a flop? At 600 pages, it should have something going on by page 80. So, are you going to persevere? Or does this book go to the back of your closet?

Angie Cothran said...

Emily - I'm generally a book buyer, but I was leery about this one so I waited on the waiting list at the library for 5 months for it. If I don't finish it in the next two weeks I will be out of luck for another 6 months. I'm going to give it 20 more pages, but if it doesn't pick up I'm finished!

Abby said...

Oh goodness... I hope it gets better. I HATE when that happens and I am a really easy reader too! I like a wide variety of things, but who wants to read boring and slow??? Nobody! You'll have to tell us more about this book when you're done with it.

Angie Cothran said...

Abby - I went to page 100 and it didn't improve so I moved on. It has great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads--4 1/2 stars on both. I don't get it?

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Number 4 is by far my favorite!
"If it's boring leave it out"

LOL! Who writes a book and thinks I'm going to put in this boring dialogue because I don't have anything better right now.

I ditch VERY few books but I think I'd dump that one. The worst is knowing someone is going to ask, 'So how'd ya like it?'

Angie Cothran said...

Shelly - What I want to know is how this author got an agent for this book? I'm serious NOTHING happens in the first 30 pages.

When someone asks me how I liked it, I will just ask them what it is they loved about it.

Tara Tyler said...

ditch it. or skip to the middle and read a few if you really want to know. jump to the end, even. i have been putting more down lately because they have things i am editing out of my book and they are published! no fair!

curious what it is!

JRo - Jaye Robin Brown said...

I agree Angie, my thought when reading your post was, how did they get this published? Just goes to show that there all types for all tastes.

I'm at a point in life that if I can't get into a book, I don't slog through it. Same for movies. There are too many great ones out there, that unless I'm specifically looking for lessons in bad storytelling, I move on.

Angie Cothran said...

Tara - I might ditch it or skip to the middle, but that feels so naughty!

JRo - I'm generally a slogger, mostly because I want to know what not to do. But I don't really feel like 600+ pages of slogging especially with other interesting books waiting in the wings.

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