When a Book Shouldn’t Pass Muster

Kassia Krozser’s recent blog post on Booksquare titled  A Question of Value struck a deep chord with me.

“The publisher sold readers a book they knew was not very good. Yes, the publisher had to know. Someone on the editorial staff (presumably) read the book. Someone with (presumably) enough discernment to realize the book was crap. Someone who should have had the guts to say to the author that the book didn’t pass muster. You know, instead of foisting bad stuff on readers.”

Having just finished a book I complained about all the way through, I wanted to chuck it in the trash so as not to inflict it upon myself.  Unfortunately, I have no time machine to go back a week.

The historical romance I closed for the last time this morning irritated me the whole way through.  It was by a USA Today bestselling author.  I had never read her work before; sadly, for her and her publisher, I never will again.  This book was so easy to put down it took an entire week to slug my way through it.

You may wonder why I continued reading if I abhorred it so much and I constantly asked myself that very question every time I picked it up.  I guess I kept hoping it would get better.  Alas, it only grew worse.

Here are a few things NOT to do when writing a novel:

* Describe the h/h eyes on every single page–and use it as the only source of color throughout the entire story.

* Repeat the heroine’s reason for her behavior on every single page.

* Make the h/h’s actions and reactions implausible.  A reader can suspend disbelief for only so long.

* Insert a plethora of coincidences in an novel.  There wasn’t a single person in this story who happened upon the h/h and wasn’t coincidentally connected/related to them.

* Use 150 pages of filler to make the book longer.

* Last and most importantly, NEVER throw in an obvious plot device near the end of the story.

Now that I’ve voiced my irritation I can move on to the next novel in my TBR pile.

Lis’Anne

Surf Report, May 9, 2010

Writer Unboxed blog member, Barbara Samuel, on Layering Depth of Character:

“I’ll begin with a character bio, third person, interviewing her, but not in the usual ways. Alison Hart (Jennifer Greene) once posted a trick she uses, which is to look inside the purse or glove box of a character, or both. I do both. I also like to see the inside of the car—is it messy or tidy? My car usually looks like someone is moving—books and canvas grocery bags and change scattered all over the floors. My partner has tools and running clothes of various weights and dog clutter from his side business. Continue reading

Today’s Interviews with Valerie Bowman & Rita Henuber

Thank you so much, Ladies!  We appreciate your insightful answers to our questions.

Valerie and Rita will, of course, answer any questions that may straggle in–but only in their “free” time.  As agented authors, I can only imagine how carefully they’ll have to parcel out their time in the future.  🙂

Happy writing, all!  Thanks for stopping by!

Lis’Anne