Wednesday, January 6, 2021

#IWSG: #HookMeFast #NoWhimperingFemales


Hello! It's the first post of the year for the Insecure Writer's Support Group and I'm co-hosting! Click on the link if you'd like to sign up!

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for hosting this monthly event, and thanks so much to the awesome co-hosts: Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise - Fundy Blue!

This month's optional question: Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books? 

I read for pleasure and entertainment, so I don't want to be bored. Hook me fast! 
  • Too much backstory, too much description, too long to get to the point of the story--and I'll put the book down. 
  • Give me unique characters and an original story--or at least a twist on an original story--and I'll stick with it. Tell me an interesting story and I'm yours forever! 
  • A bit of snark and humor is important. Make me smile or laugh. 
  • And NO whimpering or whiney females, please!
Other than that, I'm easy to please. 
How about you?

What causes you to put a book down? 
What are your "must-haves" in a book or story? 

76 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree with you more - hook me fast! Absolutely. I want good editing and no spelling errors or rambling sentences. Thank you for co hosting the IWSG blog hop and a very Happy New Year to you.

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    1. Too many typos pulls me out of the story and I have stopped reading for that reason. Happy New Year!

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  2. I love your answer to this month's question. Yes, tell me an interesting story and push it forward with the right balance. Happy New Year!

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  3. Yes, exactly what I like in a book. Happy New Year! Thank you for co-hosting this month.

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    1. I've become quite picky in recent years ;) Happy New Year!

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  4. I'm a first sentence reader. If that hooks me, I'm usually okay, although I've been fooled a few times...

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    1. A great first sentence to hook me is great, but yeah, the rest better be good too!

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  5. Snark is very important!
    Thanks for co-hosting today.

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  6. We have similar needs! Thanks for co-hosting!

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  7. Hi and Happy New Year!
    I do like a book that hooks me at the beginning.
    Thank you for co-hosting, and have a great 2021.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. It's the only way. I don't stick with a book very long otherwise. Happy New Year!

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    1. LOL. I know that's all changing and women are starting to be portrayed as the badasses we really are ;)

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  9. You nailed it! No whiners, no overstuffing, no yawners. I want to be in chapter three before I remember that I'm reading! Thanks for co-hosting, Gwen!

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  10. Hi Gwen, Happy New Year. I too love it if a writer has hooked me in the initial pages of the book :)

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    1. I don't give it more than a chapter or two. If it hasn't happened by then, I'm out. Happy New Year!

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  11. If it doesn't seem like the story has started by the end of the first page, I'm very unlikely to read the second.

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    1. I give it at least a few pages, maybe even a chapter, then I'm out.

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  12. I was never able to finish 50 Shades of Grey. I dragged my way through the first three chapters and then set the book down to do some gardening. The book disappeared! Granted I didn't search for it but still, do you suppose it read my mind and insulted, ran away? Thanks for co-hosting, Gwen. Best to you in 2021. Doesn't it feel S/F to say 2021?

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    1. I never even picked that book up. LOL. Happy New Year, Joylene!

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  13. Thanks for co-hosting, Gwen. I'm a fairly patient reader if the characters hook my interest, so well-written description doesn't necessarily throw me off, but annoying protagonists sure do! If the author is asking me to spend 300 pages with this person, she'd better be someone I'd enjoy meeting in real life.

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    1. Yes, great characters is what keeps me reading too!

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  14. I read for pleasure and entertainment, too. I like short chapters that end with a cliff hanger. Before I know it, I've been entertained for hours. Minimal description, let my imagination fly.
    Thank you for co-hosting this month.
    Lynn La Vita blog: Writers Supporting Writers

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    1. I like short chapters as well, it's easier to pick up when you come back to it.

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  15. Love your list of book turn-offs. I think it would be interesting to turn the question on its head and look at the ingredients we love.
    Happy 2021!

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    1. The ingredients that we love would be a great post idea!

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  16. Bad. Good. I try to read it all. We've all had to write a lot of crap (just don't publish it) to get to the good stuff. Good post. Happy IWSG day. Thank you for co-hosting!

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    1. I read widely, but it had better interest me. Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!

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  17. When a book makes me smile, I'm happy. When it makes me laugh, I'm ecstatic!

    Thanks for co-hosing today, Gwen.

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  18. I love books that make me laugh, smile, cry, sigh, or even get angry. Then, I know it's a good book. No whiney, helpless females for me, either! And, no toxic males. Yuck.
    Thanks for co-hosting this month!
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. Yes, I forgot the toxic male part. That's a no-go for me too.

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  19. Thank you for co-hosting! Like you, I definitely like some punch at the opening of a story. I also need (did I say need, already?), unique characters. I'm a super character-driven reader. :)

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    1. It's all about the characters for me. They're my "friends", haha.

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  20. Thanks for co-hosting. I agree with everything you said about what you need to stay interested in a story. I like to read to escape and for pleasure too.

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  21. No wimpy and whiney females...I love it! Those characters can be annoying unless done well to provide comedy within tense scenes.

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    1. Haha, most writers are moving away from that trope, and it's about time!

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  22. I'm with you on this. I like to get right into a story, but have a clear understanding of who and what I'm reading about. I want to read fiction for fun and entertainment and not have some writer try to dazzle me with literary fireworks that don't really add to a story.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  23. Great list! Huge chunks of description always seem boring to me. Just get to the story!
    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. Brief descriptions work best for me, otherwise I start skipping those chunks ;)

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  24. #nowhimperingfemales Bahaha me too! Yes to everything you listed, but especially the humor. I'm much more likely to love and recommend a book which makes me laugh, it's one of my favorite things. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

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  25. Hear, hear! on the no whimpering females. And yes, please! on the original characters. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

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    1. Women are strong and that stereotypical weak female trope is just wrong ;)

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  26. Great list! Description bogs me down and tosses me out of the story too!

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  27. Oh yes to no whimpering females! I'm all for strong women! Thanks for co-hosting, Gwen. I hope that you've had lots of fun visiting around. Wishing you lots of great reads in 2021!

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    1. Thank you for co-hosting as well! I'm a little behind, but I will catch up. Happy New Year!

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  28. Good list of answers to the questions! I hope your New Year is going well. I only read and reviewed 23 books last year, but my goal for this year is 30. My other goals are to publish another fiction book in 2021, do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April, and increase the number of authors helped by Operation Awesome.

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    1. To be honest, I don't have as much time for reading as I'd like. When I get the chance, at night, I fall asleep. :(

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  29. I can't remember where I heard it, but some writer said the first page has to be "low information, high intrigue" that stuck with me, and I think good books always follow that rule of thumb.
    I noticed that if there is "too much" backstory it's usually because the reader didn't care enough yet to be ready for the information. Good novels sprinkle the backstory in a way that feels natural but interesting.

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    1. "low information, high intrigue" is exactly it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  30. Definitely agree about the whiny characters! And I have about 3 seconds patience with female protagonists who spend all their time dithering about which lover to like.

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    1. Haha! I dislike love triangles too. Though I sort of have one in my current wip. But she knows exactly who she loves ;)

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  31. No whimpering females. Amen! Thanks for cohosting this month.

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  32. I don't mind atmospheric descriptions as long as doesn't take an entire chapter to describe a garden. I do love surprises, twists. If a book makes me laugh out loud (the way I sometimes do in the card aisle) I won't even lend it to anyone ;-) But I will certainly recommend it to everyone.
    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. I love atmosphere! But yeah, don't over do it.

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  33. Hi Gwen! When you list the qualities of a good book, are you referring to a certain genre, or are you open to all genres that can hook you in those ways? I understand creative non-fiction is different, but I so agree with you about what attracts us to books that I incorporated exactly those elements in my debut travel memoir. I’m sure it makes it a different kind of book and I’m trying to figure out whether it was appreciated. The fact that some readers finish this 88K memoir in one or two days should be the answer. :-) Thank you for co-hosting this month!

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    1. Hi Liesbet, any genre including non-fiction should grab you and hold you. If your memoir is being read in one or two days, then Wow! Well done. That's a book I need to look up!

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  34. I'm typically not interested in a wimpy or whiny character, no matter their gender! I want people who try.

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    1. Agreed. It's just that stereotypically, male characters are shown as strong, and females as weak. That is changing though!

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  35. Thanks Gwen for cohosting this month. Enjoyed discovering your blog. Wishing you a creative 2021.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Susan. Happy New Year!

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  36. That makes me feel insecure, Gwen! I wonder if I hook you fast enough?

    Thanks for hosting this month. Happy new year!

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    1. Oh no, that was not my intention! I'm sure your work is really hook-filled. Happy New Year, Jemina!

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  37. I'm totally with you on wanting some snark and humor in books I read!

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    1. I know you do, Ellen! Your Molly series is full of it ;)

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  38. I probably have heroines who cry too much. Working on that.

    Thanks for co-hosting. I'm tardy because I was helping my mom move last week.

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    1. No problem, you had more important things to do. Thanks for coming by!

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