What are your “red flags” in books?


Heavy innuendo. I like to read fantasy, but if you can’t get through the first page without the author pointing out someone’s got a tent pole, I’m not going to enjoy the book.


There’s a difference between Fantasy and Fantasies.


This is exactly why I dislike Netflix’s Daredevil and rooted for Kingpin. As soon as season one was over, it seemed like there was no point in watching season two. I did, however, see a few episodes of it, but Punisher seemed unlikeable. So, without my being able to care for or root for the protagonist (or antagonist at this point) it just seemed pointless to watch as a show at all.

I love the antihero type of hero, but I feel, for the most part, that if you’re going to make an antihero… it has to be a character other than the protagonist. Someone the protagonist relies on. I feel like that is one major way to make the antihero work.


I feel like the purple prose thing depends on the character, though, especially if you’re working on using multiple characters’s POVs in the same book. If you are doing multiple POVs, then the voices all have to be completely distinct from one another in order for the book to survive as either a standalone or a series. Even if you’re not writing each chapter in a different POV, different characters have different voices and different personality. To me, that’s the only reason why to use purple prose. Some characters just speak that way.


I understand this. I judge a book by its cover. If I’m scrolling, I don’t have time to stop and read every title and blurb. I stop for covers that catch my eye, then go to the blurb and title, and decided from there.

Guilty. I used to do this a few years back and I can confirm it’s to make the chapter seem longer. When I couldn’t figure out how to write more, I made my character sing even if it didn’t make sense. I’ve grown out of this and now I have since deleted all those sing-song parts and whatnot. I agree, it is bad.


Can I ask what you mean? I know I put a quote from the actual book in my blurb just to add something before I give the blurb. Sometimes it’s something a character said aloud, sometimes they have said it within their head.


That purple prose sounds awful. :joy: yeah I definitely don’t write like that and don’t plan to.


Me too. Sometimes, very rarely, will there be a bad cover and a good book. Or maybe I’m just not looking properly.


Wow, thank you so much for opening this topic!
Noticed that I made some pretty foolish mistakes. Mostly concerning (punctuation in) dialogues… Oh well, better to learn about it now than never. Also got rid of some other red flags.

Personally I can’t read a book when the grammar’s really bad. I mean, I am not even a native English speaker myself but some sentences are just too much. Always mixing up “your” and “you’re” also ticks me off.
Another thing I don’t like is the author commenting in the middle of a chapter for no apparent reason.
And finally unlikable characters or those who don’t make any sense whatsoever.

Those are the red flags I can think of right now.


I’m just biased towards covers since I am a visual person. I love graphics and such so I will judge books by the cover. It doesn’t have to be super professional but it shouldn’t be something like “here’s a picture of some girl with some bright yellow font that is super hard to read and the name font is in a different pink color”. Like… Come on. At least try.


Oh exactly! There are so many covers that are just pictures and no words at all.


Yeah, that also irks me. Words are our friends. Writing is words… If you can’t put a title or some words on a cover for a story, what is the story like? Wordless?


Or only skim the descriptions and cut straight to the action and dialogue.


Crazy fanfics. Weird and scary bxb or mxm of Harry and other dude. Gives me goosebumps.


i don’t really have any red flags. i’m not trying to be a snob, but every time a story has one of those things mentioned above, i think, “oh, this’ll be good.” a lot of the time i enjoy ummmm…let’s call them “less-than-polished” stories more than i enjoy award winners. i tend to take them more lightly.


I don’t think that’s being snobbish. It’s just what you tend to enjoy; nothing wrong with that.


I do this way too much on here. :roll_eyes:


When you right away can tell who the main character is going to “end up with”. And not because they’re fawning over each other, but because the other character is soo much more described than any other character introduced so far.
Also, they usually start out arguing or bantering when they first meet,


What if the quote gives a deeper insight to the story, the mentality of the character, for example The stories i right usually have a poem (sort of) consisting of deep quotes to emphasize the characters mentality and how he is feeling… :black_flag:


Usually something like where it’s trying to make a right-wing thing look like a left-thing, or some philosophical equivalent. One of things things where it legitimately seems like the writer is trying to con actual leftists. I just don’t have the patience to read through that kind of BS anymore.

I get enough of that reading the stupid arguments this one lady in a talk show once had, against sex robots: where people misappropriate feminism to promote a right-wing agenda.

Other than that, there isn’t much I absolutely just wont read. But it might take more work if it’s “Epic Fantasy” or something else. I’ll read it, but it’s an uphill battle.

Ex. Making capitalism look leftist. I just put a book down if it does that.