One of the best things readers love to do is to get lost in a rich and intriguing story. There is nothing better. Getting sucked into the story’s characters and setting can transport you on a journey unlike you have ever been on before. But even the most avid readers pick up the occasional book that is just not for them. The library has chatted with a lot of readers over the last few years about why they QUIT reading a book. Here are five of the top reasons.
The pacing of the book is off / wrong / horrible/ extremely slow
How many of you out there like a slow book? There are a few people that do but the majority of readers pick up a story and want it to have a good pace, advancing from one scene to the next in a logical manner. A slow start can lead a reader to rapidly give up one book for another because they aren’t interesting. There is nothing worse than reading a book that feels like you are walking through six inches of mud, trudging your way to your next destination.
Poorly developed characters
Characters can make or break the book. Poorly developed characters leave the reader with too many questions in their minds. Individuals that make poor choices in the book or decisions that don’t make sense annoy readers as well and cause them to quit early. Sometimes books have too many characters as well and not a central character to draw the reader into the story. If a reader has to care about too many people, it makes it difficult to choose who to focus on. Readers want a book with deep and fleshed out characters who propel the story.
Too wordy and too much description
We have all had to read these door stoppers. Think back to high school? It’s Friday night and you have a 785 page book to read before Monday’s assignment is due. This is not saying that all big books are bad, but another thing that ruins a good tale is being overly wordy. Descriptions that are paragraphs long that can be cut down into a couple of sentences. Putting too much description into a page bores the reader and makes them not want to go further. Unnecessary words cause the reader to just gloss over the page. Sorry, but this book goes back onto the shelf or into the do not finish pile.
Have you ever been in the middle of a story and realized that you have absolutely no idea where the story is going? Readers sometimes are taking down a path that doesn’t make sense in their minds and it worries them how the book will resolve. Sometimes there are too many plot lines going on at once to make sense of them all. Other times the plot is too simple. Narration in a book needs to have a beginning, middle, and end for a reader to respond to it. Readers are sophisticated and enjoy a little complexity but this varies with the individual reader.
Lack of emotions
Many readers want to “feel” something when they pick up a book. They want to feel joy, love, romance, hatred, and hundreds of other emotions when they immerse themselves in a story. This is particularly true in genre fiction. Romance readers want to feel joy, love, and intense emotion in their stories. Mysteries want to feel justice and that they murder was solved or be provided a reason why it wasn’t. Science fiction readers want to feel hope and explore places that have never been explored. Horror readers want to feel scared. But to classify all genre readers this way would be inaccurate. Readers want to feel a combination of several of these emotions at once when they read a book. They want to FEEL. And if that feeling isn’t there, they close the book and move on to another.
These are just five of the reasons readers will give up trying to finish a book. Do you have others? What makes you quit a story? How do you know when to quit the story? Leave us a comment below.