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.