Implausible Everything

My buddy, Charlee Allden, of Smart Girls SciFi asked a good question on her blog yesterday.  “How long do you give a book before you give up on it?”

I’ve read thousands of historical romance novels.  If one didn’t engage me after the first few pages, I didn’t hesitate to put it down.  I’m still that way.  There are just too many from which to choose and time is a precious commodity these days.  However, what do you do when the first several chapters totally engage you then suddenly the author starts writing like a newbie?  She went from showing me how the characters felt, what they saw, etc., to telling me.  The dialogue went from realistic and tight to stupid and implausible.  Real men don’t say, think, and do the things she now is forcing them to.  *insert finger down throat and gag*

My blogging partner, Abigail Sharpe, of Chicklets in the Kitchen and her own blog Don’t Hang Up the Quill, always gives an author two tries.  When money’s tight and I already have a suitcase (she knows what I’m talking about!) full of books to read + a large canvas bag stuffed full from the RWA national conference + a giant box shoved into the bottom of my linen closet, I don’t have the inclination to give an author more of my time or money with lines such as, Edward made a concerned noise.  What the heck is a “concerned noise?”  A groan, a moan, a hmm, ahem?  What did it sound like?

Is this so wrong?  Am I being far too harsh?  Did I wake up on the wrong side of the planet AND someone stole my coffee?

The problem now is, if I’ve invested over 200 pages of my time, should I press on even if the author totally turned me off to her writing?  A part of me keeps hoping the excitement and realism of the first 50 pages will magically infect the rest of the story.   The rational part of my brain says it’s not going to happen; the wishful part keeps turning the stupid page.

Happy reading?


4 thoughts on “Implausible Everything

  1. Lis’Anne, I have yet to find a book where I wanted to put it down, groaning in agony. There are however a few books that I have in possession, where I realized the author has written so many in a series that she now has a formula.

    Said formula has become predictable and now I know the ending to all of your books. This typically happens when you have a connected series. While I don’t mind say three or four books working in this matter, I do mind fifteen books following this same formula.

    I worry about my writing a series (which I am diligently working on – HA!) becoming a part of formula style writing.

    The issue with authors who have been in the market for some time, they tend to use what worked for them when they first started. Whatever genre you’re writing in (I am in Romance) the style, taste and formatting has changed.

    “Telling” or what is known as author intrusion can be easily over looked if the telling—no pun intended—of the story is done very well.

    I have been taking many workshops over the past few months. I can only hope, as a new writer, that this will help me to avoid the aforementioned pitfalls.

    I want a reader to feel their heart pounding out of their chest from page one.

    Like you Lis’Anne, I would want an editor to care enough about my work, that they would call me on my bad writing. I would want my book to be published not because it draws sales, rather is draws the imagination of enthralled readers.

    P.S. – If you don’t like the book, you can put it down and none would be the wiser. 😉


  2. I agree with all you’ve said, Lizzie. I think this book, however, was more a case of polishing the first 50 pages and not a page more. Usually that only occurs when an unpublished author intends to enter a partial into a contest. I can’t help but think this was just plain laziness on the part of the editor/author. It also pays to continue writing with honest critique partners no matter how successful one becomes. 😉

    To be fair, I’m reading to the end and will probably give her another chance.


  3. Hi Lis– I’m over from Charlie’s blog. I totally understand what you are saying. And I’m wondering here how the editor lets books like that slip through. We all try so hard to get published and it’s tough. So why publish a bad book? Or read one for that matter! We are told we have to be near perfect to break the publishing doors down. And it is true. So how do this multi pubbed authors get by with it? Too bad, too bad.


  4. To clarify, I won’t read a book if I don’t like it, even if it’s the first book I pick up by a particular author. But I will pick up one of the author’s other books. THEN if I don’t like it, I’m done. 🙂


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