Friday, May 27, 2011

Help me, Obi wan Kenobe

Okay. First. Let me just say this is the second time today that I have hightailed it to a Starbucks for the wifi connection. I am . . . so addicted to the internet.

But I have a legitimate reason to post right now! I'm preparing for the upcoming WIFYR conference, and I would like you as fabulous readers to tell me what specifically makes you a) stick with and/or b) abandon a book after 50 pages. I want to develop a rubric (is that the fancy teacher word I want?) for responding to manuscripts.

Thank you, Obi wan Kenobe. I love you so.

10 comments:

Lisa B. said...

I want to be interested in the characters--I don't have to sympathize, but I need to be interested--and the narrative must move. MUST. MOVE. Also, it has to be both. Characters alone won't do it, and narrative alone won't either (*usually*...I confess to having read plenty of trashy novels where "character" is too specific a word for the entities filling up the space where character should be).

Either that, or the prose has to be so spectacularly beautiful, that the narrative can be a tad slower. But only a tad.

Heidi said...

I have to really like the story, really quickly. I'll give a highly recommended book 100 pages or so, but if I don't love something about the story by then, I won't finish it. I like interesting characters, usually characters who have something about them that I can relate to. Your question brings to mind books by two authors that I have read somewhat recently - a book by Louise Plummer and some others by Shannon Hale. Those books were really hard for me to put down.

CSIowa said...

What Lisa said.

Lorrie said...

I like an engaging story,characters that I can find interest in, and writing style. I don't have to love the characters but I need to be able to understand why they are doing what they are doing. Crude language is a turn off. I love the Kindle feature that allows me to sample a book, it has saved me time and money. Finally, just cause it makes a best seller list, Opera list, what-ever list, doesn't make it good literature.

Donna said...

Nice pictures....

Donna said...

Seriously? Any more I have such little time to concentrate on a book that I need to care about the character. I need to fall in love with them right from the start. If I do I can forgive a few chapters of boredom. I need the author to stay focused on why they care about the character. If the theme is more important than the character, then I want to be engaged in the cause.
Our lives have been reduced to 20 second sound bites...and our soul craves nuance, substance and closure. One of the best examples for me of caring about a book was, The Help........mostly because the cause of my youth was championed. The invisible women of my youth were broke right out on the porch.
I am not very sophisticated in my needs....I just want to feel something.
Happy Memorial Day my friend...

LucindaF said...

I am a picky, picky reader. I will put a book down after the first twenty pages, maybe even less. Yes, I've put them down with much less than twenty.

For me it has to be the character and the voice. I recently had an editor recommend about 5 books to me that she thought were similar in nature to what I'm writing. I'd already read one of them by Laurie Halse Anderson, the rest I couldn't get past the first ten pages.

I don't want a story. I want people.

Mystery Girl said...

The story needs to grab me in the first couple of chapters and then carry me to the point where I look at the page number and feel like I floated past the fifty page mark. If I'm struggling 30 pages in it's usually the kiss of death.

thetiffanywindow said...

I'm all about the writing. I will forgive a slower start and longer description if I feel I can trust the author to be a writer who will take me beautiful places.

Anna said...

My reading habits change depending on how busy I am with my family. Since becoming a mother I find I only stay with a book that I can pick up and put down without forgetting huge chunks of what went before, making me re-read several pages to pick the thread back up. This mostly applies to philosophical books which I love, but when it is sometimes several days before I can return to the book I don't have the mental energy (or often time) to try to dig my way back into the book. I try to slog through, but usually give up.

What keeps me going? An intriguing plot with characters I want to know more about. I appreciate active, descriptive writing that stimulates my imagination without getting bogged down in minute detail.