And You Keep Reading Because…?

Hi friends,

As always, I’m catching up! I originally wrote this the evening after Tropical Storm Irene made the east coast crazy. I was blessed with no loss of power and only a little water in one corner of my basement (the advantages of living on a small hill).

So one major storm, two baby squirrels and one bird rescued by my son later, and while all the kids were out inspecting storm-related outdoor events, I got to write something. (Okay, the bird did a lot of chirping but that was no big deal—quite a pleasant sound, actually. Keeping up with the kids to heat the squirrels’ rice-filled sock, especially overnight was another story…). Sadly, the bird and one of the squirrels didn’t make it. The other squirrel found her way to a vet who has a special place in her heart for rescuing and releasing squirrels back to the great outdoors when they’re ready. (God is good!)

      

Sidetracked, as usual. I’m focused now, I promise! 😀

Recently I downloaded and read a book. (No!) Uh, yes, and may I take a moment to say it was among the worst written I’ve read through to the end. The editing was probably of poorer quality than the writing, as the book was released by a small press (vs. self-published). Read some of the prose to my son and his friend, both teens. Neither likes reading but to their language arts teachers’ credit, both said something about run-on sentences. Honestly, I don’t know how this book made it to press in the shape I read it, little more than first-draft quality.

I know, I sound mean, but I’m entitled to MHO, right?

Having written that, I’ll reveal nothing identifying about the author or the story; I’ll simply share what I didn’t like.

I’d have no problem with story being told completely from the protagonist’s point of view (POV, from here on), but if you’re throwing in another POV, please allow me to get into that character’s head at least one handful of times. A very likable character got less than five times to shine from his standpoint. Author may as well have skipped including a second POV altogether.

Backstory dumps: more than should be legal for any story, and one of the longest inserted at the most inappropriate times. (I won’t say where for fear of giving any revealing info away.)  At least one of these info dumps was dumped twice, almost verbatim too.

I’ve read many a romance and many a love scene. I’ve heard other readers say they’ve skimmed over love scenes when they get dragged out. First time I ever did so during a first read. Not only were these dragged out, they were way overused. So were the descriptions: same or similar words; same approaches to ‘the act’ and pretty much the same response every time by the heroine, since every scene was in her POV. I got it. I didn’t need to be hit over the head every time this couple decided to show each other how they felt.

So back to the title question: what kept me reading this book?

Yep, the story and the players. Very likable characters caught in a number of worlds—this was a paranormal—whose story goals were defined enough to make me want to root for them while trudging through a dragged out book to see how things turned out. Would I read a second book by this author? Doubt it. But, this was proof that characters and an engaging story will keep this reader turning the pages far more than something well-put together but with no people relatability going on.

Anyway, that’s MHO. Thanks for indulging me. Your turn! What keeps YOU reading? And since I’ll be judging first-round in The Suzannah Contest and because I want to start branching out and paying forward more, leave a comment for a chance to win a five-page critique on a current work-in-progress; I’ll pick a winner by the end of the week!

Have a great day,

Joanna