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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Different Sort of Review: Why I Stopped Reading

So, I know about half of you drop by here for the book reviews and about half of you show up for the writing stuff. And I know that a lot more of my posts connect to the writers out there. This is probably another one, though it's a jumble of what I put out there for readers -- book reviews -- and writer tips. "Why I Stopped Reading" will be book reviews without naming the books.


Let me explain a bit. Many of you know I'm also a freelance editor and do contract editing work for a small press. That means that sometimes when I read, my editor brain bullies my reader brain. Sometimes I can override it, but sometimes I just can't. So when I stop reading a book, it's usually because my editor brain insists on it. I hope that by doing these reviews, I can give writers an insight into perhaps why an agent or editor doesn't continue reading.

So on to the show.


There are plenty of books on my kindle that I downloaded free during promotions. I've started a bunch. Some just don't hold my interest. That's not to say I won't finish them someday, but they're lacking that something that keeps my nose in the book and doesn't allow me to come up for air, no matter how many other things I should be doing!

Genre: Paranormal
Audience: Not sure. (Yipes, not good right off. The MC is older -- early 20s -- but the writing style seems to jive more with YA books in this genre.)

I stopped reading at: 8% into the book (Kindle version!)

This book actually grabbed me quickly, good thing. Then it started jumping back and forth between the present and things that happened in as little as a few hours before to a few years before. I can see this type of writing style working, just not the way it was done here. It would take me several sentences of confusion to realize the narrator was talking about something that happened a while before. And importantly, if a writer wants to break a writing rule (because seriously that's okay!) you have to have a reason and you have to do it well. In one specific instance, I couldn't understand the reason for starting in one place and then going back to something that happened the previous night, leading me to believe the MS would have benefited from just starting the night before to begin with.

Why I stopped reading: I expected to be confused throughout considering how things were moving so far.

The Lesson to be Learned: Maybe, follow the rules and just write chronologically. Once Query Shark said this about a query on how to get away with breaking the rules -- first, do it the way you're supposed to. Learn how to do that well. Get that down. Own that. Then break the rules. (If you want to read the post, go here.)


  1. I LOVE the idea of reading reviews without knowing what book it is from. Especially from reading this post. I found that very helpful and look forward to reading more posts like this!

    Konstanz Silverbow

    1. Thanks! I hope everyone will be able to get something out of it.

  2. I like this. "...THEN break the rules." Too true.


About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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