What puts you off reading a book?


I’ve struggled with knowing how to let the reader know who my character is before the conflict. I almost wrote a morning rutine scene :stuck_out_tongue:
But then you realize you can give clues in other ways and the reader doesn’t need to know everything about the character right away. Some mystery is good.


Really? I was flying through this one, but some of his other novels were too heavy, the last one in particular. The historic background though forms the motivations in the NoR.

I am not a big fan of proplogues starting with ‘in the beginning there was… then describing three to seven godly creatures creating the realm, then some sketch of a very special city, then, after a dense text, jumping to a catastrophe that apparently was brewing ever since, for 10 to 100 thousand years. It has to be thousands of years of peace, that separate the plot from the mythological stuff. And for bonus points, they’d drop a few gods from a mythology of choice, Nordic or Greek, usually.

Seriously, the only time where I’ve liked it is in Mummy the Old movie.

Otherwise, I feel like telling the author, why don’t ha tell me the story that happened 100K years back as ‘now’ instead of condensing it into two driest pages of pseudo history book ever, and btw they don’t even write history books in that boring manner any longer. If you are hoping I am making notes as I go here, trying to memorize your claim to being Tolkien 1 mln 345 something, buddy, you are out of luck.



@xbatmanrobinx I’m curious. What are “face claims”? Is it casting?


Repetition! When in a book a character does the same thing several times (I.e in one book I’ve read on Wattpad the two main characters showered or bathed at least twice in every chapter! That meant 4 bathing scenes in each… it was just too much…) or scenes are repeated with maybe a slight variation.


I’d say, cliches and purple prose. Like, why do you need to use two words where one will do? I have a low attention span so long sentences, even without purple prose, is a pet peeve.
But purple prose wins (loses?) hands down.


Every word counts in literature. Rambling prose bores me rigid.


Sex, bad grammar, pictures show ing clothing, long intros, boring openers


yeah, so basically the author would have celebrities be the faces of their characters.


It’s really just the incorrect use of grammar and words. E.g. Your used for You’re and vice versa.


I get so turned off when the MC’s life revolves around their love interest and vice versa, like they need to have their own lives and their own problems. Also, the whole ‘love at first sight’ that happens in the first chapter and they move soo damn quickly that they’re kissing in like the second chapter.

Horrible grammar and when people use CAPS WHEN THE CHARACTERS ARE SCREAMING.

When the MC is a ‘good girl’ who never does anything wrong and everything is about her.


In 1st pov, especially a girl mc too much talk like
'errr! I hate his ball! Yuck!’ So, yes, I walked to the cafeteria and…

Then love at first sight, when the guy say, I love you straight to the face!


What puts me off is when the author takes too long to get to the point.

I can tolerate typos and grammar mistakes as long the story’s entertaining and informative.


For sure bad spelling and grammar. Maybe if I wasn’t an English major I could tolerate it more. :joy:


Hate stories that don’t go anywhere


Misplaced and extensive exposition is a big one for me. It’s a little bit linked to the whole ‘show don’t tell’ method.


I’ll have to list my turn offs in some kind of order.

Opening with a rape - I hate rape scenes and won’t read any book that starts with rape. Sex in the first chapter is a general turn off - I figure I’ve picked up erotica by mistake and toss the book in the trash.

Bait & Switch - Opening with a character who is never seen again. Usually murdered, might just be killed off, might be the mother of the MC abandoning the MC as a baby, but this character is the bait and the reader is switched to other character(s) for the rest of the book. Red-flag for Never-Ending-Story-With-Cast-of-Thousands. (I didn’t read Song of Ice and Fire for years because the opening is Bait & Switch).

First Person Present Tense - It’s a Red-flag for a first-time writer, there will be other issues with Mechanics, (Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation are the big 3 of Mechanics).

Third Person Present Tense - It’s another Red-flag for a first time writer. Tenses will shift, Mechanics will be shaky throughout.

Opening with (edit) Abuse of MC or other characters - Red-flag for insertion characters. Usually Red-flag for problems with plotting later on.

First Person Past Tense - Red-flag for Insertion Characters, Utter Lack of Characterization or Stream-of-Consciousness. I’ll read a bit to see if the Mechanics are sound and if the writer can handle 1st Person, but I’m looking for other Red-Flags and will jump ship at first sign of Stream-of-Consciousness, and Insertion Characters.

Info-dump Opening - Red-flag for Chosen One, Insertion Characters and Never-Ending story. I’ll read on, some world-building is required, will jump-ship if the Mechanics are shaky.

Shaky Mechanics - If there’s a problem with Mechanics in the first Chapter, I’m gonna be wary. I can tolerate occasional problems with ‘there, their, they’re’, but other issues will make me jump-ship.

Multiple 1st Person Characters - Red-flag for Utter Lack of Characterization. It’s often painful to read and confusing because there is no difference between the characters.

There are always a few writers who can pull off those Issues and write a good yarn.

So far J.R.R. Tolkein and George R. R. Martin are the two authors who can pull me into Never-Ending-Story-With-Cast-of-Thousands. But after Robert Jordan - I won’t read anything longer than 3 books as a rule.



I’ve read plenty of books in these tenses and POV that were well written and engaging. If they fit the story I can’t see any reason to throw out a book on the assumption that the tense and POV mean the writer isn’t any good. Any tense/POV combination can end up shaky and poorly written. I just can’t see how any specific ones are “red flags” for anything.

If you just don’t like reading in those tense/POV combinations fine, we all have preferences, but to cast mass judgement on the writers who uses them, based on nothing more than that they use them, is really unfair.

This confuses me. So if the characters ever wind up in hard or painful circumstances it’s bad? Having your entire story be a happy painless love fest for the MC is really boring in my opinion. People get hurt in real life. That doesn’t mean a character that is hurt is an “insertion.”


So, in other words, you will read a single POV third person Past Tense stories in a setting that is fairily familiar, so it does not require a lot of world introduction upfront.


I wouldn’t be so far as to exclude present tense books from my list, but I’d be similarly wary of them. I don’t know why, but in terms of percentage of good books I’ve encountered that use present tense compared to ones I found utterly awful it’s just looking abysmal - now, the first ten times it might be a weird coincidence. But if after twenty books I haven’t wised up then frankly I’m just being an idiot ^^;


Some reasons present tense can be good: