Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Poll--please help me out.

I finally started revisions on Sendek this morning. The great people on Hatrack critiqued my first 13 lines a month or so ago, and I finally had the nerve to make changes. The story is currently at 84,000 words and I know that is hits a point where things speed along (almost too quickly) to the end, but the beginning has a lot of character introduction and so forth. This is normal, but I'm trying to find a better balance. More tension in the beginning and a few scenes to slow things down at the end.

Here is my question for you. When you pick up a book, how do you decide to read it and how long do you give it to pull you in? Please answer in the poll to the right, and feel free to leave a comment with more explanation or other choice. :)

I am a very forgiving reader and have finished poorly written books along with the good ones. However, I only reread and buy the ones I love. I choose books by the brief scene on the covers. If that doesn't catch my interest I keep moving along the shelves. There have been some books that I just could not get into and never finished. I realized that I quit within the first two chapers of every book that I gave up on. So, if you are writing a book, make it good fast. That is what I am trying to do as well. It is good advice to write a book that you yourself would want to read, and keep reading until the end.

I can't wait to hear your responses!


  1. The first thing that grabs my interest is the cover (unless it's Dean Koontz because that's a purchase no matter if the cover is stick man art), then I flip it over to read what it's about.

    I frown if the whole back cover is a giant picture of the author. Why do I need to know what they look like? My picture will PREVENT sales.

    If I have to look inside to see what it's about, I read the mini-synopsis there. Then I read any reviews that accompany it. I'm strange, so the reviews can have the opposite desired effect on me.

    Then I read the first page to see the tone it is written in. If it's in first person flaky-self-absorbed-my-life-is-so-tragic-because-my-hat-got-squished-on-the-bus, then I put it back.

    I don't care how thick it is. If I do buy it, then I read the whole thing, even if it makes my brain hurt, because I PAID FOR THIS PAIN. I don't subscribe to the notion that a reader abandons a book quickly if they aren't pulled in. We all have that little hope "well, maybe the next chapter is where it gets interesting..."

    I mean, it got PUBLISHED, right? It's supposed to be fabulous. It's supposed to be superior to others in the slush pile and in a new and awesome voice we've never seen before and therefore MAGICAL, regardless of our suspicions that we could have written it better ourselves. (Oh, you KNOW you do that. Just admit it.)

    I'm a selfish book buyer. I don't recycle, I don't give away, I don't trade with others or sell to used book stores. They are MINE, even if I never read them again. (Yes, Eragon, I'm looking at you.)

    *this is an attempt at humor.
    **it's sad my comments need a disclaimer.

  2. I choose to try the book out, and if it's a friends pick I give it 50 pages and then give up. I want to give all books a fair chance but sometimes the back cover pushes you away to where you can't look past it!

  3. I answered your poll a little differently to how I currently read. I currently have a big backlog of recommended books, so they're all (regardless of style) books I'll plough through. But when purchasing something random from the bookstore or getting it from the library, the first few pages make it or break it for me, and have done for decades.

  4. I go on friend referral and on what the jacket says. But I lean heavier on what the jacket says. I usually give it about 30 pages and then stop if I'm not engaged.

  5. For me, it depends on why I picked up the book. If I picked it up on my own, I give it the first few pages to a chapter. Then I'll skim and see if it gets better. If I've heard about it, then I give it longer. Sometimes, I'll even read the whole thing just to see why people are talking about it and then where it fails. I find that anylizing the book like that really helps my own writing.


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