I have some questions for you smart book reading types

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I have some questions for you smart book reading types

Post by Pentagram.J2 » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:12 am

This is for my general use as a writer, so please be as detailed and blunt as possible. I have some questions about things you see in writing:

Time jumps. how do you guys feel about them? Does it make a story more confusing when there's a "five years later..." or similar transition in the story? Does it ruin the flow of the story in your opinion? Let me know!

What type of stuff do you hate reading about in books? Political bullshit? Repetitive sulking and moaning? List it all and what exactly bothers you about it. Also if possible, provide examples of someone maybe doing it right.

What makes a character INSTANTLY unlikable for you? Would you be able to follow a protagonist who, in all other stories, would likely be cast as a villain?

What settings do your prefer, and why do you prefer them over others? Explain in detail please.

Describe what makes your favorite book series... well, your favorite book series.

What attributes do you think all good authors must have? Is it really obvious when these are missing?

You're given a fantasy book to read. The story has a few interesting ideas and original concepts mixed in with tried and true (read:derivative) fantasy tropes. Does your interest in the book fall or rise when you see these tropes pop up amongst the original ideas?

Finally, what is your biggest pet-peeve of a writer? Unnecessary padding? The main story halting for some droll sub plot? Let it be known!
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Re: I have some questions for you smart book reading types

Post by tehENEMY » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:42 am

Smart book reading types aren't going to write your paper for you.
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Re: I have some questions for you smart book reading types

Post by Pentagram.J2 » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:34 pm

It's not for that. I'm just gathering opinions of others, this is for my personal project that I'm working on. I want a general idea of how people feel about these types of things, so as to maybe strengthen my writing in the process.
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Re: I have some questions for you smart book reading types

Post by Brig » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:08 pm

Well.... I read a lot, not neccesarilly a great writer (as we all know), but...

1. Worked at the end of the Harry Potter series and in Game of Thrones, so why not? (as long as you don't mean time travel)

2. I hate reading stories that could have been great, but were horrible because the author wasn't the right author, so to speak, to write that story (i.e. Wayne of Gotham by Tracy Hickmann) and I also hate good stories with other agendas, like if the Lord of the Rings books were heavily hinting anti-republican things throughout the story.

3. I would never instantly dislike a character, I would see how they grow over a series before really deciding (like, I hate Draco Malfoy cuz he's an flamboyant arse, but I like Snape cuz he's more chill and awesome about it), and yes

4. I prefer settings we haven't seen before (no Wizard's castles and space/underwater utopias) but to still be plausible

5. My favorite book series (Harry Potter) is good in my opinion due to 5 things
1. Very well written
2. Plot twist that still makes the plot understandable
3. Death, of the unexpected sort
4. The length of the book, the setting, and the characters all working harmonously together
5. pixie's magic used to enchant the book to convince us it is good

6. Author's should be patient (as to not rush a book) and should practice, practice, practice, also to proofread it by a lot of people, yes it is obvious when an author doesn't have these skills

7. Honestly don't know, but if it was in a really good book like Space Oddysey I doubt I'd care

8. I hate when authors over explain and under explain things a lot

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Re: I have some questions for you smart book reading types

Post by jmtokx » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:52 pm

1. I don't like it when Time Jumps happen. I always feel like I missed a lot because the character always changes. (i.e Ender in Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Although he writes another book about what happens in the "Time Jump", Ender in Exhile.)
4. I enjoy Post-Apocalyptic and/or Post-War stories. Usually fiction wars and in a futuristic/Utopian society. Examples: Ender's Game, Divergent, City of Ember a few years ago.
6. Creativity is a very important trait that authors can not go without.
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Re: I have some questions for you smart book reading types

Post by nightmare 101 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:26 pm

I think time jumps can be useful to the development of a plot, but I don't usually have an opinion on them until the reason for it is settled later on. Also, the placement of time jumps can also make or break the device - typically, i would put a time jump in a new chapter, but if the time jump exists as split paragraphs, yes, that can be confusing and frustrating to the reader.

What do i hate reading about in books? detail. Fucking detail. Describing a flower perfectly, but for what reason? The use of too many words to say too little is a better way to describe this phenomenon. Basically, unless the reader has to visualize it to make sense of the story, then it shouldn't be getting described. It's like describing the texture of the carpet. Who the fuck cares?

I'm not sure I would say characters are ever really unlikeable for me. The closest you can come to that for me is someone backstabbing the main character after they have already been through alot together - it bothers me, but still doesn't make the character wholly unlikeable.

I prefer any setting that is described well and gives the feel of the space which is to be imagined. Basically, if the author decides the best stylistic option is to describe everything in the room down to the thread count of the bed sheets, I'm probably reading the wrong book. It's not the setting itself that irks, or turns, me on; it is the lack of imagination put into describing it.

I don't think I have a favorite book series - I do have a favorite book, though: Catch-22. It is the epitome of ironic humor, and the plethora of characters show a true human side. I never felt the book was dull at any point, and the vignette style of chapters really pulls the whole thing together in the end.

I think all good authors should possess a level of creativity, and insight. I don't read any pop novels because of this issue. If I read a book and I feel like I'm just going through the motions of someone else's life, it puts me to sleep, for 1 - but it also shows a lack of effort on the part of the author. Anyone can write about how they made a ham sandwich for lunch and how it tasted, but is that insightful? Not unless you're making kosher points or something other off the wall statement. Yes, it is very, very obvious when these qualities are missing.

I'm going to skip the fantasy question, but on to the last:

Unnecessary padding. I'm sure everything I have said as of yet falls into that category. Words that I don't need to read to further the story or provide an imaginative setting; basically, random details that never come back to make a point

And for the record I don't read that much, but I do enjoy writing. I am extremely opinionated, though.
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Re: I have some questions for you smart book reading types

Post by 510 Baud One » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:35 am

Glad this was bumped, interesting replies since thread started
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Re: I have some questions for you smart book reading types

Post by rockerboy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:54 pm

Time jumps are okay if you use them correctly. From things I've read, most authors use a time jump right after something super exciting happens. If you use them at a different time, it most likely won't work out.
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Re: I have some questions for you smart book reading types

Post by Moot_the_Mute » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:24 pm

In my personal opinion:
1) Time skips are okay, but only if they are really meaningful. Also, don't be a dick and say that five years passed and use that five year span as an excuse to pump as much bullshit as you can, or at least mention it when you're summing up the passed five years.. For example, Character A mastered a martial art in that span of time and the author only mentioned it right as it was needed. It's the writer's equivalent of "HAHA! I used my ice beam, you're now frozen!" "Nuh-uh! I have an Ice shield that protects me!"
2) I love to read about nothing. When your characters take a minute to breathe, drink, and talk, it makes them more human. Joe Action is much more compelling if the reader sees he needs to take a piss like Joe Average. These 'camp' moments are great for building up relationships between characters as well, making the group more compelling. One of my favorite moments from a book was seeing a character who had been eating and sleeping (two of the most sacred things in all civilizations) turn on his group and killed them in their sleep. This was after several in-narrative months, so I had grown to trust him along with the group.
3) Bitching and moaning are not things I like. HOWEVER they are okay if the character's personality demands it or the situation demands it. Action Joe wants to eat the cake, but his boss says he needs to keep in shape. BUT IT'S JOE'S FAVORITE FLAVOR!
4) Nor do I like preachy white-knight characters. They not only are flat, but they are also unlikable in the real world. If you have a friend who constantly is on your back to stop smoking because it's bad for you and you should be more like HIM... He's gonna stop being your friend really quickly
5) Padding is good! Padding means you know your world! Pad like Lord of the Rings, not the Simarillion. People's enjoyment of padding difers, so pad as you wish.
Authors need several things, creativity being the chief of them, but there are others. Such as drive. If you have no drive, you'll never finish what you were writing! Authors could also have a kind of twisted moral compass, because if everything is divided into black and white (THEY ARE BAD GUYS, WE ARE GOOD GUYS! WE GO WIN!) it's tremendously boring. Authors should also have a decent Voe-cab-uh-lury to get the point across.
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