What Personally Makes You Stop Reading a Story?

Say you see a wattpad story that piques your interest. What would make you only read the first chapter or two and then just stop? What makes you lose interest? What needs to be there to make you want to keep reading?

If characters are annoying or there’s a ridiculous amount of typos I can’t keep reading. If there’s humor, likable MCs, good grammar, suspense/ plot, or unique/ interesting premise it’s full steam ahead.

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If the stakes aren’t at least hinted at I won’t continue to read. I need to know where the story is going.

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Giant blocks of text, unnecessary or awkward breaks to describe character appearances, a glaring lack of proofreading, boring or unlikeable characters, confusing or uninteresting (to me) plot… Also, if I see any variation of a male love interest growling “you’re mine.”

I don’t see so much of this anymore, but I used to hate it when people held their stories hostage like “15 votes and I’ll continue.”

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Run on sentences, poor grammar/spelling, huge walls of text… probably my main dislikes.

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Every Marye Sue or Gary Sue character !

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Grammar, punctuation or spelling issues, if it’s boring, or if the wording is amateurish and awkward like a beginner, then I usually give up on it. If it has an interesting premise and great characterization, I might ignore all that and keep reading. ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯

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Grammar and punctuation, like other people have been saying. I’m particularly a sticker for dialogue tags; if someone formats them wrong, instant turnoff.

In terms of personal taste, second person pov, present tense, and head hopping/unrealistic characters also turn me right off. Especially present tense. I can’t stand it. Before anyone uses hunger games as an example, I disliked it there too.

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Too much character description and scenic description — in the first chapter!

I like for the plot to start within the first three paragraphs or at least make me love your characters within said paragraphs.

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Those are my two biggest. I’m not perfect with spelling and grammar, but I won’t post if I haven’t checked multiple times myself, used grammarly, and had at least one other friend look it over for mistakes. Some people on here seem to just post their first rough draft without editing it and it’s hard to read.

As for characters, you can really tell sometimes that they just wanted a Mary Sue or some other cliche and that to them, the character is just there as a vehicle for their cool unique idea for their story. Like, maybe they have what they think is a really cool magic system, so they write a barebones story with flat characters just so they can show their cool magic.

Both of the issues to me just seem to show impatience to get something out and recognized without putting in all the work first. It’s something I used to be guilty of, and honestly I am still sometimes unsure if I put enough work into my stuff before sharing it.

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As others have already said: grammar. If a story does not feel polished–especially in the first few chapters which are crucial and all writers should edit seriously–I won’t read on. It’s too jarring to be reading and then have to stop, frown, and mentally grammar-correct.

Dull characters are another turn-off, and out-of-place or poorly written dialogue.

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I would want to read the first two chapters if the story interested me and if I liked what I was seeing so far content-wise in the first couple of chapters. I would stop the book if it wasn’t that interesting 100 or so pages in, but some books I would stop at two chapters in if I knew if it was going somewhere I didn’t like, such as graphic sexual content or heavy language. A book needs to have a good concept, decent writing, and decent themes to keep me reading the book. For instance, I started this Christmas related book on Wattpad and I’m on the first chapter, and it hasn’t been that engaging so far. In reality, I could just stop the book, but I usually try to give physical books 100 or so pages before I stop reading if it isn’t interesting.

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That’s a good point. Sometimes I fall prey to this myself.

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I feel like a lack of proofreading also causes a lot of the other problems you listed. I used to have that issue myself where I was so enamored with and excited about my story that I rushed to get it out without really putting in the work to polish it.

And don’t get me started on smutty romance. It has its place, but I absolutely do not enjoy books written specifically for people to get off to while reading. It just doesn’t sit right with me.

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Typos is a biggie for me. I can’t get drawn in when every time I’m about to be engaged, a typo pulls me back out.

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This one is always hard. You obviously need to describe the character that readers will be following for the whole story, but you need to find a way to integrate it and you need to realize that not every single minute detail needs to be communicated.

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If I’m on Wattpad and looking for something to read, I very often stop after the second chapter. Sometimes I’ll think the story premise is interesting enough to be worth a try, and when the first chapter isn’t working, I’ll click on the second chapter to see if it gets any better.

Another reason I might read only the first chapter or two is if I get distracted, and I forget about it.

In order to make me keep reading, the writing style itself is huge (grammar, sentence fluency, etc) and the premise/ initial conflict has to be interesting enough that even if I put the story down, I’m still thinking about it.

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Huge walls of text, grammar issues, everything that’s pretty much been said already. I also personally hate it when the writing is choppy and the transitions from one action to another are too short, or too long. Transitions are hard to write, but I stop reading whenever they get to be too bad.

Also, I hate when the plot goes by too fast or too slow. Jumping from one action to another without a lot of elaboration usually leaves me lost, and spending too much time on the transition scenes makes me bored and uninterested to keep reading.

What can I say? I have a short attention span, lol :sweat_smile:

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I think the transitions and jumping issue comes from people who focus too much on the big action and forget about the small action. So they just rush to get to the next “big moment” instead of having smaller, but still important, moments happen in between big moments.

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Definitely! I have that issue in my first drafts for sure — we’re not all perfect — but if it’s a repeat offense, it’s obvious that the author never put in the effort to proofread and revise their stories.

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