|Art Work Courtesy of Ray Arcadio|
You loved the blurb. First page sounded interesting. You bought the book. What makes you throw the book you're reading against the wall, stomp on it and go find another?
Hi, and welcome to Rhobin Courtright's brilliant idea of blogging on a shared topic each month. I really had to stop and think about the questions posed this time. Number one...if I threw a book, I'd break my Kindle and that could get expensive. *lol* Since I purchased my e-reader, I haven't invested money in a real "paperback." I find reading on my Kindle so much more convenient, and I love the ease of carrying reading material wherever I go. I must have over 400 novels and stories downloaded right now.
What usually grabs my attention is cover art. Then I read the blurb to see if the cover matches the story. I guess because I'm a visual person, I do judge books by their covers, and it's very important to me, at least in my own publications, that the artwork portray what the reader will find in the content. Nothing disturbs me more than seeing a redhead on the cover and discovering the heroine is blonde. May be petty, but it does bug me.
I must admit, I've started lots of book I haven't finished, but I chalk my disinterest up to the author not yet having learned to hook the reader and draw them in. I discovered early on, the importance of having a good hook at the end of each chapter to keep the reader turning pages, but a lot of time passed before I realized if you bore a reader with tons of unnecessary information or descriptions, you lose their interest...at least in most cases. Most people want to jump right into the tension. In other n words, if you don't have a great opening that connects me with the characters and story, that when I surrender, and probably others do to.
A great example would be my start to First Degree Innocence. In my first draft of the manuscript, I started the story with lots of description of the dreariness of prison the smells, the drab color of the walls...the entire atmosphere. While I want my readers to experience those descriptions, they work best if you pepper them in around the character...make her smell them, notice them them...compare them. So, when I redid the manuscript, my opening became:
"Ok, Lang, strip!" The guard's bark made Carrie's stomach roil.
I think it was a vast improvement, and judging by sales, so did readers. *smile*
Still, the blurb is the part of a book that most readers rely on to judge a promising read by putting a lot of emphasis on the descriptive strength, I believe the same emphasis needs to be placed on the first chapter opening. I want the first sentence of the book to be the key to make me want to read on...something that grabs and keeps my interest...puts me in the character's shoes. The books that are my favorite are ones where I've actually lived the story through the character and sensed every emotion.
Yet, even if the author has mastered a strong first page, if I get to a place where there are far more descriptions that have no impact on moving the story or plot forward, too many unnecessary tags identifying who is speaking, or word duplications over and over, I'm no longer interested. I don't throw the book for reasons mentioned earlier, but I do click onto something else and start over.
One thing I never do is hurry to Amazon and assault the author's integrity. I was a new author once and I've learned a lot of things that maybe others haven't. I recognize that every book is someone's baby, and a lot of work went into the writing. One day, every author will learn to read with an editorial eye, and I hope they reflect back on when they first started. I only wish readers could experience the same emotions and recognize the process is a journey of learning. That may never happen, as it's much easier to just pick a book apart than show compassion and understanding How sad is that?
Now...hop on over to the following blogs and see what they have share with you:
* Heidi M. Thomas http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com
* Anne Graham writing as Anne Stenhouse at http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com
* Diane Bator at http://dbator.blogspot.ca
* Fiona McGier at http://www.fionamcgier.com
* Margaret Fieland at http://margaretfieland.com/my_blog
* Ginger Simpson at http://mizging.blogspot.com
* Geeta Kakade at http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/
* Connie Vines at http://connievines.blogspot.com/
* Beverley Bateman - http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
* Rhobin Courtright - http://rhobinleecourtright.com
In case you would like to check out my own work, you can find everything on my Amazon author's page..