Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pet Peeves of a Reader by Heidi Chiavaroli

Summer is almost here and I feel the excitement of a good read all around me. While it's a cozy picture to think of oneself curled up by the warmth of a winter fire with snow gently falling outside the window, I think reading fiction may be more popular in the summer. The days are longer, schoolwork is forgotten, we’re at the beach or on vacation. What better way to get a little rest and relaxation?
 
A few days ago I overheard two women talking about what they liked and disliked about a particular book. While they were fans of different aspects of the story, they both agreed on disliking one trait: lengthy setting descriptions. As a writer, I’m aware this is a no-no, but it was nice to hear actual readers state it. Long, drawn-out setting descriptions was one thing these two women were not willing to spend their summer on.
 
The other day I spoke to another friend. She’d been adamant about finishing a particularly good page-turner. I asked her how it turned out. 
 
“It was pretty good. I just get impatient when the author goes on and on after the story is over.”
 
Okay, another point well-made.
 
As writers, we need to be sensitive to those things that irk our readers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to turn a reader off from our stories.
 
Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to a good read? What would ruin an otherwise good book for you?

Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, wife, mother, and grace-clinger—not necessarily in that order. Ever since taking her first trip to Plimoth Plantation with her sister, mother, and grandmother at the age of nine, she has been fascinated with history and its significance to today’s people and culture. Heidi is the winner of ACFW’s 2014 Genesis Contest, Historical Category. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle. Learn more about Heidi on her website: www.heidichiavaroli.com.

6 comments:

  1. I dislike characters whose actions are inappropriate for their age. Characters who are in their late thirties and early forties but dress, act and have hobbies that people in their early twenties enjoy. It just makes me want to put the book away.

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    1. Interesting! I hadn't really thought of that, but I can see where that would be a hang-up. Noting to myself... ;)

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  2. Heidi great post! A couple if things that bug me are too much information about the setting and too many research tidbits. If a book is set in the depression I don't need to know how much every item costs. A price thrown in sparingly makes more of an impact.

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    1. Another great point, Terri! Too many details can definitely be distracting.

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  3. conversely from your friends "extended ending" experience, i recently read one that did the opposite. while the ending was anticipated, it was basically summed up in a few paragraphs when it could have taken a full chapter. le sigh, such a fine balance for us as writers!

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    1. So true, Robin! That can also be frustrating. There is definitely a happy medium somewhere there. Now to perfect it as writers...

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