Thursday, October 25, 2007

Booking It Through Wall-Bangers?

"I would rather be poor in a cottage full of books than a king without the desire to read" - Thomas Babington Macaulay


I would enjoy reading a meme about people’s abandoned books. The books that you start but don’t finish say as much about you as the ones you actually read, sometimes because of the books themselves or because of the circumstances that prevent you from finishing. So . . . what books have you abandoned and why?

Oh, good heavens. I probably abandon more books than I finish. I wouldn't have enough time in the day to list them all!

I have very, very little time to read any more. Between writing, editing, promoting, Yahoo-looping with my publishers, co-running this romance reveiws site and homeschooling my daughter, I have *maybe* an hour a day. Since it is precious to me, I spend it carefully. If I don't fall in love with a book in the first chapter or so, I'm done. Sometimes, if it's an author I've loved in the past, I'll give it a little more time in the hope she'll come through for me again, but not too long.

You gotta hook me, right off the bat. And, for me it's mostly about the characters. If I fall in love with your characters, I'll stick it out through a murky plot.

I also have a tendency to read as an author/editor now, too. So, if your book is poorly edited, has far too much passive voice, or telling, or infodumps, or "that and it-itis"**, I'll spend so much time mentally editing it, I'll lose any possible enjoyment of the book.

You'd be better served to ask what books I've actually finished lately!

Edited to add:
Geranium Cat asked about **That or It-Itis: an affliction that many authors suffer from.

She looked at the book THAT he gave her. --- This would be a much stronger sentence without the "that".

And, overusing "it" (or any pronoun, I suppose) weakens the writing. Which would you rather read:

She stepped to the hearth and warmed herself in front of it.

Or

She stepped to the hearth and warmed herself in front of the dancing flames.

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Speaking of LASR, our romance review site, we are in DESPERATE need of reviewers. I'm groveling, here. If you like romance, please, please, please read what we look for in a reviewer and then contact me! I'll be forever in your debt.

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My Samhain Publishing book has gone to the final line editing folks to catch all those pesky typos and mis-used hyphens (can I just tell you how much I HATE hyphens??). I'm excited! I can't WAIT to see my cover, though. That will make it seem so un-freaking-believably real. I will be squeeing so loud, even Melissa will hear me!

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I edited a short story yesterday, changing it from an Easter theme to Halloween. Then I heard back from the author who had subbed a Halloween short to LASR and she's agreed to the edits we asked for. Hmmm... Oh well. Guess y'all don't get to read my story after all!

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Your score on this personality test was 67%
 

Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

Personality Quiz
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Gosh... I'm blushing. You're so sweet, saying all those nice things about me. But, just ask Michele -- I'm not nearly this nice. I'm Fish... remember?

15 comments:

GeraniumCat said...

Time's a big factor for me in abandoning books - like you, if I'm not hooked fast, I won't give it long.

I'm still trying to work out what "that and it-itis" is though!

Charity said...

What's funny is when we (as in, my work) write for translation, we keep a lot of the words you might normally edit out in English. Such as the dreaded THAT.

Sometimes, it just depends on the audience.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I tend to read quite critically too, a poorly edited book really annoys me.

The word 'that' though is often very useful for clarity andfor translation asa previous comment says.

Cat. said...

Glad to find someone else ruthless in the "One Chapter and You're Done" way. I agree: my time is too precious to waste on things I don't enjoy.

Not thrilled, however, that you pointed out two things (more) for me to be annoyed at in my reading. I have such a long list, headed by Tom Swifties. Sez I, editorially. ;-)

Melissa said...

I think "that" can be useful in some intances, but it's a word I overuse and then have to go back and remove. I lost an entire page from a manuscript when I deleted a bunch of unnecessary "that"s.

It-itis kills me every time. I'm much better at catching the word in other's writing than my own.

Tori Lennox said...

I got:

Your score on this personality test was 61%

Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.


So we've got our Twin Thing going on. :)

Melissa said...

Forgot...

I'm sure I'll hear your scream all the way out here and will be listening for the peels of delight!!!!!

Michele said...

ROTFL..HI FISH!!!

If the first chapter in a book tells me the whole push behind the conflict, if I can figure out where the book is going, then I won't read it. Why bother?

Recently there was a book that everyone raved over. I gave it a whirl. After the first chapter, I KNEW that was going to happen. So, I skipped to the last chapter. Yep, got it in one.
NEXT!

And, Yep, That is a great crutch , BUT I blame it on my college professor who drove it in that THAT was a necessary word. NOW I find THAT it's not. How annoying is THAT?
Very.

Julia said...

It all about the characters for me too, Marianne. But the writing have to be easy flow to read it too.

Happy Booking Through Thursday!

Brandy said...

I usually give it 3 chapters. I always try to give the book the benefit of the doubt.

As for the quiz, 65% and the same answers as yours and Tori's. Which is funny, I NO WAY IN HADES want to be the center of attention.

Have a fantastic day!

Stephanie said...

I'm actually pretty picky about the books I read, so I don't generally dislike a lot of them. I hate stopping a book that I've started. Don't really know why, I just do!!

Dru said...

I give a book up to 3 chapters before I abandon it. I actually stopped reading a book because I didn't like the text format.

As for the quiz, my score was 63% with the same message as yours. The part about being center of attention is so wrong.

Melody said...

Ahh...yes, Marianne! Characters do play an important part in my reading too. I'm glad you brought it up! I couldn't believe I have missed that out!!!

gautami tripathy said...

I hate books with verbosity too. It completely puts me off.

Lesley (El Zed) said...

I do give books a little longer than the first chapter, though I agree that characters are the key to whether or not a book will be a winner.