#10 Slow Pacing (or the 100-page Threshold). Generally, if the book has not peaked some level of interest, curiosity, shock or (insert emotion here) to keep me reading…I’m done after 100 pages. Sorry, I don’t do S&M. I’m not going to torture myself by reading some dreck just to say I finished the book.
#9 No Plot/Wandering Plot/Illogical Plot. If the book is so full of ginormous plot holes until I can drive my car through it, I see a DNF-rating in its future. Or if the book has no plot at all (the characters do random things without any discernible motivation or goal), etc. I will shoot it like a lame horse.
#8 The Prologue is too Lengthy. Seriously, this is never a good sign in my experience. I once tried to read a book with a 90-page prologue. Mistake. Not convinced? Consider this. A prologue is like a teaser/preview of the book…in the same way the trailer is a preview of the movie. It should be short, and provoke interest…intrigue, a desire to either watch the movie or read the book. Would you watch a movie with a trailer that was 45-minutes long?? Of course not. The trailer is a movie all by itself!
#7 Misrepresentation. The descriptive blurb says one thing, however, the book exists in an alternate universe that is completely unrelated to the blurb. If I’ve been lied to, I feel no obligation to continue reading.
#6 Unlikable/Mean-spirited Main Characters. If I don’t like, can’t relate to, or empathize with the hero, the heroine…or both, chances are I won’t make it to the end.
#5 Lack of Descriptive Prose. Of course, I like bouncy conversation and interplay (dialogue). However, dialogue must be supported by rich, descriptive prose which helps set the scene and gives the reader a sense of who the characters are (and in many cases what they’re thinking). Otherwise, its like watching a movie in B & W. Yeah, sure, you can survive without it, but come on, its more interesting in full color.
#4 Confusing POV or shifting POV (to the point of nausea). Unfortunately, since first-person narratives have become the norm, I see this a lot. I don’t necessarily mind a shifting POV, but it should enhance character development and be executed well. If its jarring or causes confusion…its best left out. Just pick one character and stick with him/her. Or risk being DNFed (by me, anyway).
#3 Non-Romantic Elements in a Supposed Romance. I once read a contemporary romance where the heroine was a hooker, actively hooking, at the beginning of the novel…eh? Really? Or there was the historical romance where the hero was in a drug-addled stupor for the first half of the book. <eyeroll> In one paranormal romance I DNFed, the heroine goes on a blood-letting crime spree throughout the book…eh, WTF?!
#2 Poorly Edited Books. Anything riddled with typos or with lapses in logic is subject to be DNFed. A while back, I read a book where the hero’s name changed in the middle of the book. (This was not a self-published book!) It took me two chapters to realize what the heck was going on. The editor was obviously asleep at the wheel. If the editor can’t be bothered with it, than neither will I.
And the #1 reason why I might DNF a book…
#1 Too Much Sex, Not Enough Romance. Sorry, I don’t do nonstop sex-a-thons. (That’s just porn). There needs to be a storyline that includes some form of a romance or something. Otherwise, its just the Spice Channel in written form. No thanks.
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