12 Ways to Bore Your Reader: Pet Peeves Readers Have That Will Get Your Book Shelved

A good book must include several elements to please a reader, right? An interesting hook, compelling plot, and questions that perk your reader's interests, are only a few to mention.

But what are some elements of a book that will cause a reader to put it down, and never pick it back up again?

I've asked real people what their reading pet peeves are, and I've compiled a list (based on their answers) for us writers to keep in mind. Remember these no-no's while writing your novel, unless you want to end up on the no-seller's list. :)

1. Long or Ridiculously Spelt Names:

"Joeeeelqueyszkrrr? Seriously? If you really feel the need to have a long or difficult to pronounce name, please introduce it once and give that character a nickname! Otherwise, every time I read it I may want to pull my hair out, and put down your book for good." -Ashlynn 23

2. "Big" Words:

"Just use English...please! I'm sure you're intelligent, creative, and all around good with words. But I already assumed that about you, based on the fact that you wrote a book! Just give it to me plain and simple, and save the brainstorming for the plot twists." -Anyone who's ever picked up an adult book to escape and read the first two lines of the story

3. Too Much Description:

"I'm bored with the overwhelming amount of scenery description! Make me feel like I'm there, but get to the point please." -Michelle 40

4. Backstory or Flashbacks:

"Boring! Find a way to incorporate the past into the present. I don't want to hear about what happened seven years ago, and who's dog went missing...blah, blah, blah. I'm sure that was interesting, sad, cool, weird...whatever. But so was my fifth birthday party—when I was five. I want to know about the juicy plot that's unfolding in the present. If the past is really important to the story, it should be shown, not told. Please forget that long, boring explanation. Woo me with what's happening in the now!" -Jennifer 28

5. Introducing Too Many Characters in the Beginning:

"Let me first bond with the main character. Then make their story interesting by adding characters who compliment or challenge them. In other words- put me into a room with one new person, instead of a roomful! Once I'm comfortable with my new friend, they can introduce me to the others." -Anyone of any age

6. Switching Point of View, Especially in the Beginning:

"I'm confused...did he say that or did she? Who is this story about anyway?"    -Your High School English Teacher

7. Dialect:

"I don't want to spend ten minutes decoding each page when a character speaks! Let me know they have an accent, and what kind, but move the story along, please. If I wanted to learn a foreign language I'd register for one!"
-Everyone but old Uncle Ben, who only reads Mark Twain novels

8. Talking Down to the Reader:

"I get enough preaching from my parents, grandparents, coaches, teachers, and everyone else in my life. When I pick up a book, it's because I want to escape. For the love of doughnuts, just let me escape!" -Teens everywhere

9. Killing Off a Main or Loved Character: 

Make sure your reader can justify why they had to die. Tell your story, but don't hurt your reader just to get a reaction. Make that character's death count.

"Killing off a lovable person—either too early or at all. It has to be important why they die. Like when Dumbledore died, I was tempted to stop reading." -Alex 18

10. Not Enough Inner Dialogue:

"Not enough atmosphere and not enough inner dialogue will get me to put something down. Obviously, we all enjoy the conversations that our favorite characters have, but where are they in that moment? Is it hot or cold? Does the breeze play with her hair and make him want to brush it from her face? When she looks at him, what is she thinking? What is she feeling? What is he thinking and feeling?

I like a lot of detail so that I can sort of paint a picture or make a movie in my head—using the author's words.

If the author isn't painting vividly enough with their words, I'm not being drawn into the world he or she is trying to create. If I'm going to keep that book in my hands, I want to be in that world. I don't just want to read about it." -Brittany 24

11. Lack of Appealing Characters:

"Make the characters so appealing that I want to spend time with them! Making them attractive isn't a bad idea either."    -Inspired by Amber 27

12. When the Author Takes Too Long to Start the Story:

"I hate when it takes too long to actually start the story. I've read many books where the first 3-5 chapters are all just setting up for the story, and there's not much to draw me in. By the time I finish those chapters, I don't even care about the book anymore." -Sarah 25

So, there you have it folks! Real irritations by real people (or people in general). When you're writing your novel—be creative, have fun, and please do your homework. But also make sure you think about the don'ts as you're incorporating the do's.

What are some reading pet peeves of yours? What bores you or irritates you enough about a book to make you lose interest? Please share with us in the comments below. :)

Happy Writing!


No comments:

Post a Comment